General Club Culture Part 3 - Cappys Reign

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mt.wellington

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Read an interesting article that touched on this and didnt know where to stick it. Certainly didnt deserve to be put in the first 2 threads that where more to do with the club culture during Matt Elliott's time.

To find the first two parts follow the link. Most discussion has happened around really periods of the club so hopefully this thread wont see a lot of action.

https://www.nzwarriors.com/threads/club-culture-at-the-warriors-is-there-a-problem.10418/

https://www.nzwarriors.com/threads/club-culture-part-2-rumours-of-discontent.17415/

Anyway. Onto the article. Probably the best behind the scenes articles Ive read on the club...

Game day: Behind the scenes of the Warriors
5:00 AM Tuesday Jul 14, 2015

Herald rugby writer Wynne Gray gets a flavour of the other oval ball code on a visit to Mt Smart.

Nathan Friend of the Warriors in action during the round 18 NRL match against the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Getty Images

Even the images of the five Warriors legends on the NRL club's dressing room walls seem to lean in when coach Andrew McFadden starts his halftime address.

He's precise with his instructions. They have to start again. This is danger time from a Melbourne Storm side loaded with character and skill. Watch for Cameron Smith, pressure Cooper Cronk - messages McFadden gave before kickoff and repeats as the boisterous 17,278 crowd at Mt Smart soaks up the winter warmth of the scoreline on Sunday.

The Warriors lead 16-0 in a vital mid-table clash and need to repeat that impact.

Prop Jacob Lillyman, one of the stars of Queensland's midweek victory in the State of Origin series, reinforces the importance of making full use of their sets and all the right defensive plays.

Fifteen minutes later, the Warriors' error rate has risen and the Storm have halved their deficit.

The squeeze is rising and messages are tumbling down from the coaches' box as trainer Ruben Wiki exhorts fallen prop Charlie Gubb to get up from a head clash.

An hour earlier Gubb wretches in the dressing room just before the Warriors stride out into the sunlight at Penrose. It's not an uncommon reaction from sports stars and you wonder if he's ever delivered a chapter of intestinal violence when McFadden or captain Simon Mannering is making some point.

Four hours before kickoff, injured Warriors Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell and Ngani Laumape are sweating buckets on the cycle machines as trainer Brad Morris keeps them on task.

Upstairs from the high-tech gym which McFadden rates as good as any in the NRL, other staff are going through their plans and schedules as chief executive Jim Doyle wanders through welcomingly.

Entrance to the inner sanctum is rare but indicative of an inclusive attitude the club wants to foster.

Some spectators have arrived to get some serious value for their money as the reserve grade side, coached by club legend Stacey Jones, goes about their business. Then it's the under-20s before the main game - all on the same piece of turf.

Word comes through that the Storm doctor has not made the trip because of a family issue and they've asked if Simon, brother of Warriors doctor John Mayhew, and the club's under-20 medico can help out.

It's one of the items up for discussion in McFadden's office where the staff enjoy a coffee and chat about player rosters including who will be 18th man. Any piece of information is gold - the Facebook antics of trainer Dayne Norton's father, the arrival of Andrew Webster's girlfriend and Dr Mayhew's 60th birthday.

We head around the ground to check on the reserve grade action and under the main stand, run into Thomas Leuluai who is two weeks after knee surgery and feeling very buoyant about his recovery. The under-20s are about to begin their match while the seniors head for a pre-match meal.

When the players return, staff begin the strapping and physio while Mayhew administers other lotions and potions he and the players agree on.

Wounded Warrior Ryan Hoffman checks in for some discussion about the calf he damaged in the State of Origin III match during the week.

Discussion turns to the festering controversy about the Channel 9 60 Minutes interview which concentrated on edited footage shown to quadriplegic Knights player Alex McKinnon and his family, excluding any right of reply from Storm skipper Cameron Smith.

Hoffman was about a metre away from the incident and was upset later when requests he and others made to visit McKinnon in hospital were rebuffed. His sadness remains about the continuing jockeying for judgment.

Bodene Thompson is in early for some extensive strapping and helps Chad Townsend with a spare pair of inners.

Shaun Johnson gets his ankles and hands done. Lillyman has a lengthy rub down on his legs while Mannering is one of the last in for some treatment.

Most are edging into that concentrated quiet zone before the final team talk as McFadden stresses the need to pressure their midfield and Smith, especially when he looks to kick.

"Cronk is another indicator and it's all about how we shut him down. We've got to get up, and win the ground in the kill zone," he says.

"Get around the park, build your energy off your defence. It is our day where we are going to have to earn this because they won't go away. Stick with it, work to the corners and our halves will get it right with their decisions and executions.

"They think they can come to our house and wear us down but we can do that too. Let's go."

On the sideline, messages are coming down to Laurie Hale and Dan Floyd with Wiki, Norton, Hamish Craighead and Sarah Fanuatanu dealing to requests.

There's a no try for Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Nathan Friend is cut on the cheek and Mayhew consults a replay for any sign of concussion.

It's all clear before Tuimoala Lolohea scores the first of his two tries.

David Fusitua scores with a one-handed dive, then Thompson cuts back against the grain for another while Jonathan Wright saves three tries with a variety of defence.

The halftime lead is 16-0.

In the sheds, McFadden repeats his instructions about dealing with Smith to force the Storm to adjust as playmaker Johnson keeps his legs moving on the spin cycle. His work is flamboyantly loud but off the track he keeps much to himself.

"What's the formula, what's the blueprint for this half," says McFadden.

"We have got to start again, we have got to earn it again. Let's make our aim to kick to the corner and jam up on them. Let's put them under the hammer. They thought they were under the hammer that half but let's send it to another level."

The request goes pear-shaped. Gubb goes off with a head knock in between two Storm tries as the seams start to split on the Warriors' intentions.

Wiki is screaming about the need for the next try - and some sort of miracle play looks vital. It comes off a shaky last play kick. Friend climbs high and recycles acrobatically through his legs, Johnson flick passes behind his back and Lolohea snakes in at the corner.

"Air Johnson" in his 99th NRL game then cranks out two massive sidesteps to slice past two tacklers and then tags a late penalty. The result is secure and the excited ground announcer gives it to a Storm player who spills a drop out.

It's refreshing to hear Smith and Cronk bat away any Origin excuses for the Storm's performance and they are gracious about the Warriors' superiority which has pushed them up into the top four.

Once the Warriors file into the sheds McFadden is asking what they have learned. They know they are hurting themselves with errors but their plans are on the money.

"We have to take confidence that we played a really good team and we did it well with some pressure and we put them away. Let's take the learning out of that because we have got a big month of footy and we have to back up next week."

Congratulations are given to Ben Matulino and partner on the birth of their child the night before and Dr Mayhew for his milestone birthday as the team song breaks out.

McFadden and Mannering head off to the obligatory media interviews as players sortie to the showers, uniforms are collected for washing and the dressing room is cleaned.

Doyle explains how he had the breeze block walls remodelled to carry some of the club history and Vodafone sponsorship before this season.

An inscription runs around the room with all 201 who have started first grade with the font size of their name depicting their number of matches. It's another segment of Doyle's innovative approach to build the club on all angles.

"The game has to be inclusive. We want more followers, more partners to come with us.

"Everyone is important and we want to make as many connections as we can," he said.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11480282
 
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mt.wellington

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So got to speak to someone today about this. Says the teams culture has never been better.

Players know that if they play well they will get picked and keep their spots. Just as Charlie Gubb has kept his spot over Sam Lisone. Lisone got his turn over Suaia Matagi who didnt train hard enough. David Fusitua will keep his spot over Konrad Hurrell. When needed Jonathan Wright will get the call ahead of Ken Maumalo if Manu Vatuvei is injured.

Players know that if they play well and train hard they will get the call when the time comes. Normally through injury. The players also know that if they play well they will retain their spot even after the player who held the spot before is fit. Everyone knows whats expected and the rewards and punishment for failure. Keeps everyone on their toes and aiming up. True competition for spots.

This all came about after the post Matt Elliott era when players voiced their disappointment at ME playing favourites to underachievers like Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie...
 
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Gizzyfan

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That is the only way to run a team. No wonder the Warriors were a basket case for so long.
 
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mode81

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Nod of approval from this corner.. with a tinge of caution not to get hopes too high but whatever your up to McFadden keep it coming bro.. I'm into 'winning' cultures and expect nothing less.. I'm convinced he's on the right track and found the right balance and what not..

The young bucks have all taken their chances when presented and have truly flourished as the season's progressed.. returnees like Gubb and Wright have been inspiring. Wright will want to play well considering he was the scapegoat for the loss to the chooks here's a great chance to right the wrongs from that game (excuse the pun)..

What impresses me the most is the defence..there's nothing I love more then seeing this team defend like their lives depend on it..Seems as though there's been a massive emphasis on defence and I couldn't be happier.. I'm actually enjoying the hunger, camaraderie, line speed and try saves more then the freak tries tbh.

Defence wins Premierships and if we keep up that type of consistency which we've seen recently then I don't care who we play we'll farkin smash them.. the intent, desperation, scrambling, purpose and desire is there for all to see, brilliant.

As McFadden mentioned a few weeks back.. team selections have been consistent.. the penny finally dropped with some of these under achievers and now they know what they're capable of offensively and defensively and what works best for this team..

it's been absolutely amazing to witness this team evolve from no hopers to genuine threats. This 'inclusive culture' is paying dividends.. no stupid ass Scurrah whack talk just straight up no b.s. thanks uncle Jim. Keep up the bloody good work all involved.
 
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Richie

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Love it. An inclusive culture that welcomes people in, but also demands something of them to remain. No favours. No entitlement. Belonging comes with a responsibility your club, team mates, fans and sponsors. Bringing so many rookies through at the expense of more favoured players (well, one at least) seems to be fueling a hunger and demand for excellence. Keep it up Doyle & Cappy. If Manu doesn't play this week, and our younger outside backs play well in a winning team, it'll be interesting to see if Manu walks back into the team. For mind he almost has to, but not if (or at least while) our young guns are playing the way they are. And this coming from an unashamed beast lover.

Found the bit about Wiki screaming about needing the next try - don't necessarily disagree considering where the game was at (though we would still have been in front if the Storm had scored another before us), but it almost sounds like Ruben was panicking more than the players were. While Tui's 2nd was a try off a freak play and SJ's came from individual brilliance, I love the fact that the players had kept their mojo enough to roll down the field and put themselves a position to grab those points. Desperation is only valuable if it's channeled productively, and I'm glad the players took Ruben's words (and spittle by the sounds of it) the way they did, without letting it fuel any panic.

Bring on the Roosters. The test of year. How far have we come? We're about to find out...
 
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Afakasi247

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So got to speak to someone today about this. Says the teams culture has never been better.

Players know that if they play well they will get picked and keep their spots. Just as Charlie Gubb has kept his spot over Sam Lisone. Lisone got his turn over Suaia Matagi who didnt train hard enough. David Fusitua will keep his spot over Konrad Hurrell. When needed Jonathan Wright will get the call ahead of Ken Maumalo if Manu Vatuvei is injured.

Players know that if they play well and train hard they will get the call when the time comes. Normally through injury. The players also know that if they play well they will retain their spot even after the player who held the spot before is fit. Everyone knows whats expected and the rewards and punishment for failure. Keeps everyone on their toes and aiming up. True competition for spots.

This all came about after the post Matt Elliott era when players voiced their disappointment at ME playing favourites to underachievers like Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie...
This piece of information outshines any marquee signing IMO. We could have the best players in the world, but it wouldn't mean squat if the team culture wasn't right.

Sounds awesome to hear that Cappy and Doyle have turned things around backstage. It's even better hearing that this is well recieved with the players themselves. The results are showing. This is truly fantastic.

We just might be embarking on this so called "period of excellence" after all.... :joyful:
 
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mt.wellington

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If Manu doesn't play this week, and our younger outside backs play well in a winning team, it'll be interesting to see if Manu walks back into the team. For mind he almost has to, but not if (or at least while) our young guns are playing the way they are. And this coming from an unashamed beast lover.
Manu Vatuvei has earnt the right to walk straight back in. Same with Simon Mannering, Ryan Hoffman, Sam Tomkins, Ben Matulino, etc. You dont play players of that calibre in Reserve Grade unless their form dictates it...
 
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snake77

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So got to speak to someone today about this. Says the teams culture has never been better.

Players know that if they play well they will get picked and keep their spots. Just as Charlie Gubb has kept his spot over Sam Lisone. Lisone got his turn over Suaia Matagi who didnt train hard enough. David Fusitua will keep his spot over Konrad Hurrell. When needed Jonathan Wright will get the call ahead of Ken Maumalo if Manu Vatuvei is injured.

Players know that if they play well and train hard they will get the call when the time comes. Normally through injury. The players also know that if they play well they will retain their spot even after the player who held the spot before is fit. Everyone knows whats expected and the rewards and punishment for failure. Keeps everyone on their toes and aiming up. True competition for spots.

This all came about after the post Matt Elliott era when players voiced their disappointment at ME playing favourites to underachievers like Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie...
This is so great to read.

The first line alone is great to hear It's great not hearing about player disharmony. I queried you a month or two back if McFadden is still ripping them to pieces during video sessions. I can't remember your exact response but it was along the lines "I don't bother anymore getting team gossip as the players seem pretty happy and aren't really venting". Seems like we are finally turning the corner after the Bluey and Elliott reigns.

The guys being rewarded for training hard or playing well when called up to replace an injured player is not only great to read about but we're seeing the results whenever someone gets called up and is given an opportunity.

I enjoyed that article on the weekend. I thought it was from one of the normal league journos'. I got a bit of a shock that it was from Wynne Gray. Sure I'm biased but it's a lot better than his rugby articles. Maybe he's been watching the wrong sport all of this time.:p
 
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InsideBall

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The way it should be - consequence for action, wether good or bad.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to run any organization properly - especially one that is so utterly dependent on respect, such as a football team - without having that sort of culture of responsibility and culpability for ones own actions.

The boys respect Cappy because he walks the talk. And he's proven that, if you follow the plan, follow his coaching; train hard-play hard, success will come.

I said it a while ago, but I really think as a coach, Cappy will win a premiership... and the recruits we have coming next year, well, its reasonable to think that might come sooner than later.
 
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Iafetas Kickstand Wang

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In fairness to Crapiott, he did bring Fusitua into first grade when he had been okish in NYC so he identified talent quickly. He also asked Ackers to stop playing props on the wing and to send young blokes into reggies. What's been very pleasing to me is how much better our debutantes have gone this year when called up and Mattpoo deserves some credit for the revised structures. His big I fucked up moment was sending Taukieaho on his way.

Cappy strikes me as astute, inclusive, driven. Great attributes for a young coach I feel.
 
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jonno

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His big I fucked up moment was sending Taukieaho on his way.

Cappy strikes me as astute, inclusive, driven. Great attributes for a young coach I feel.
We kept RMF instead tho, and Vete, Lisone etc.. Maybe they're going to be better players than Taukieaho?
 
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Richie

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Manu Vatuvei has earnt the right to walk straight back in. Same with Simon Mannering, Ryan Hoffman, Sam Tomkins, Ben Matulino, etc. You dont play players of that calibre in Reserve Grade unless their form dictates it...
I agree. I was just saying that I find it interesting that all these young players being given a shot are taking their opportunity (grabbing a number closer to the front of the queue, if you will, but still behind the established fg players) and then being cycled back into cup. This is normal for every club/team, I know, but I can't remember the last time that 1 club has had as many rookie players come through with the success as we've had, all in the one year.

From a cultural perspective, it's great with increased competition for spots raising expectations, standards and performances. But it also raises other issues. With so many of our good young players showing they are fg capable (if not ready outright) at the same time, we become a focus for scout sharks (more so probably than usual). It then behooves the club to sign-up the best of the talent (which I think it has done) and also keep these young guns happy with good player management. Even with a player of Manu's standing in front of them (let alone someone like Hurrell or another rookie like Kata), it's always harder to drop a player from fg when they're performing well in a winning team. When you have this happening frequently (sometimes more than 1 well performing rookie being dropped in one week), it does place some increased onus on the club to manage the situation (the queue, if you will) well. Clearly, young players like Vete, Lisone, Gubb, Tui, Fus, Maumolo, etc. know they have established players in front of them who've earned their fg spot (whether starting or bench), but this doesn't stop these young guns wanting to establish themselves in fg (to think otherwise is delusional, imo). They can only do this by taking the opportunity when it's offered. When they do that and are still demoted, the situation needs to handled well. I'm not suggesting this isn't happening (Cappy's saying all the right things about resting young players to prevent burn out, the importance of balancing experience and youth in the team, etc., etc.), I'm just saying that it's one of those 'behind the scenes' aspects of the game I find interesting, especially given our club's boom rookie situation this year.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm very curious about what Cappy does if some (or all) of these young guns (Tui, Fus and RFM especially) again have blinders vs the Roosters. I fully expect Manu and Hoff to come back in the following week (though I could see Hurrell missing out if Tui or Fus show more of last weeks form), but then what if the experienced players don't fire (it's not like Hoff hasn't had the odd flat game and Manu hasn't had some issues this year) and we lose to Manly that week? The pressure builds (in what will be a tough game vs the Sharks and our top 4 aspirations at stake) with these young guys circling (I suppose like sharks themselves in a way) in cup. As you say, high caliber players don't play reserves unless their form dictates it, but as form is always to some extent a comparative exercise (regarding the likely replacement), it also has to take into account the form of the player that could take that spot. Like I said, fascinating.

Going back to culture, accountability has to be universal for it to mean anything in an organisation. No one (and I mean no one, from the CEO to the Coach to the Captain to the guy who manages interchange) should be exempt. That's the only way it works. The club/team comes first, foremost and always, ahead of any individual. It doesn't mean standing is dismissed, it just means that it can't be the sole factor. For mine, Manu comes back into the team (this week, next or whenever) not because he's Manu (with all that he's done in the past), but because of what he'll bring to the team this (or next) week. A few issues with errors aside (he's been the worst at times, but hardly the sole offender), his form has been way too strong to leave him out. However, If there comes a time (unlikely as it may seem) where a rookie players form is so consistently good that he'll almost certainly (picking teams is obviously an exercise in prediction) bring more to the side that week than a more experienced player (regardless of who), then the question has to be asked. A true culture of accountability demands it.
 
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Miket12

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It goes even deeper than what's mentioned above.

When he came, apparently Doyle told everyone that he was going to hold them all (including himself) to more accountability off the field but also promised that the players/staff's welfare would be far greater under him. I know of at least one time when he's personally stepped in to help a fringe player and his family/parents with an issue that could have been a complete disaster for the player. Others have told of how he's personally eased the concerns of very religious parents about the exposure young players to things their parents see as "undesirable" and the measures to "protect" these kids.

The players aren't just responding to Cappy - they're loving what they see in Doyle and what he's brought to the club.
 
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Freddie Futler

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Great Thread MW
I love the professionalism that Doyle and Cappy have brought to the team, no more preferential treatment, haven't heard of any players spitting the dummy and doing the likes of what Packer and co were doing, this is what a team culture is all about.
I have always maintained that the shit starts at the top and filters down. So pleased we got rid of the shit.
Better book my GF tickets.
 
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Makasene

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This is so great to read.

The first line alone is great to hear It's great not hearing about player disharmony. I queried you a month or two back if McFadden is still ripping them to pieces during video sessions. I can't remember your exact response but it was along the lines "I don't bother anymore getting team gossip as the players seem pretty happy and aren't really venting". Seems like we are finally turning the corner after the Bluey and Elliott reigns.

The guys being rewarded for training hard or playing well when called up to replace an injured player is not only great to read about but we're seeing the results whenever someone gets called up and is given an opportunity.

I enjoyed that article on the weekend. I thought it was from one of the normal league journos'. I got a bit of a shock that it was from Wynne Gray. Sure I'm biased but it's a lot better than his rugby articles. Maybe he's been watching the wrong sport all of this time.:p

The best thing is that Cappy understands that the "Team" is the squad. Not the guys in contention to play this week, but the guys that represent the club across grades etc.
 
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jonno

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I like the fact that cappy isn't afraid to put player welfare ahead of winning...

That's a definite top coach quality right ther IMO...
 
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Navigator

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You would have to wonder what cappys thoughts were as assistan coach......WTF
 
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Inruin

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I like the fact that Cappy is called Cappy and he doesnt even always where a cap

Read an interesting article on the Broncos and Wayne Bennett a few weeks back. Has banned phones from the dressing room, gym etc. And introduced standards of dress. Amongst other things, their turn around this season has been attributed to these sorts of disciplines. Funnily enough, what a number of forum members have been calling for. It seems that standards and discipline is starting to be enforced by Cappy and JD now at the Warriors and the club is looking in the best shape it has for quite a few seasons.
 
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