Warriors on the Wane as coach search starts

RUGBY LEAGUE: Can anyone coach the Warriors?

And who would be brave enough to take on the toughest coaching gig in the NRL given the way the owners of the league's most inconsistent club sack coaches?

Rugby league's Mr Nice Guy, Matt Elliott, became the sixth coach since 2000 to be punted by the impatient Warriors club, although some reports suggest he jumped before being pushed. He lasted just seven games longer than his predecessor, Brian "Bluey" McClennan who extracted just eight wins from his 22 games in charge in 2012.

Elliott's winning percentage of 44.8% was better than former coaches Frank Endacott (39.3), Mark Graham (36) Tony Kemp (35.1) and McClennan (36).

However, some recent floggings - including the weekend's 37-6 loss to Cronulla, who were 0-4 for the season ahead of the clash, spelled the end.

Assistant coach Andrew McFadden will take over the reins at Eden Park on Saturday, and unless the players lift, as they often do in the wake of a coach sacking, it could be a tough afternoon against the in-form and highly physical Canterbury Bulldogs.

Co-owners Eric Watson and Owen Glenn have already begun the search for Elliott's replacement next season and finding the right man, or a high profile coach, for what has become a bit of a graveyard, may not be easy. The usual suspects have been mentioned in dispatches; former Raiders and Cowboys coach Neil Henry, now assistant coach of the ladder-leading Titans, Tony Iro, Nathan Brown and even Tim Sheens.

They could even look at someone fresh such as Kevin Walters, a former premiership player with both Canberra and Brisbane who has coached in the UK Super League and has spent time under the mentorship of both Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy in the NRL.

Walters was in contention for the Cowboys coaching job before the club opted for Paul Green to replace Henry at the end of last season.

However, despite constant denials by the UK Super League club, the big tip is Wigan's highly-regarded coach Shaun Wane.

Wane, who took Wigan to the Challenge Cup/UK Super League double last season and has a good relationship with the Warrior's highly-paid English international import Sam Tomkins, which could help entice him to the NRL.

Wane played 149 games for Wigan in the English competition between 1982 and 1990.



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