This isn’t one of those knee-jerk, over-the-top reactions fans have when their team doesn’t deliver first up. It is what needs to happen to turn things around before yet another NRL season is wasted.
Warriors boss Jim Doyle made it very clear that anything less than a top six finishing position would be determined as a failure in 2016. Good on him for demanding excellence. The way the first two weeks have gone however indicates those expectations need to be tempered unless something changes in a hurry. He has publicly defended his coach Andrew McFadden (he can hardly do anything else of course) but at some point Doyle will have a call to make unless things turn quickly. But is that even possible?
The things that aren’t working at the moment is the cause for concern – not so much as the fact they have lost both of their opening games. They don’t appear to be able to defend at all, they look lost on attack as a unit and worryingly they don’t seem prepared to do the hard work. There have been numerous examples in the first two rounds where a little extra bit of hustle would have produced a result but players weren’t doing it. When you’re under the pump like this club is how can players not be putting in 100 percent commitment?
If McFadden wheels the same team out the next three or four weeks it is hard to see the Warriors collecting more than one or two wins at most. Is that good enough for a top six finish? Is it enough for him to keep his job? Matthew Elliott had five weeks in 2014 before he got the chop; McFadden taking over. Surely Doyle will be forced to react if they get eight games in and nothing much has changed. If that is indeed what Doyle is contemplating at this moment why not pull the trigger now and give the incoming coach a chance while it is still possible to make the playoffs? What good can come of waiting for another few losses if the inevitable is going to occur?
The decision Doyle has to make here is not easy but the only way to look at it is weighing up where the club will be at the end of the season if they leave McFadden in charge and compare that to where it will be at the end of the year with another coach taking charge now. If the Warriors don’t finish in the top six it is safe to assume McFadden will be gone as coach at season’s end anyway. I can’t see this side turning it around to finish top six unless McFadden does something bold like dropping senior players. I’d be prepared to give him a little more rope if he did try something different.
Either way someone has to go and they have to go now if the Warriors are to have any chance of achieving Doyle’s bare minimum of a top six finish.