McClennan quiet on future after heartbreak
Warriors coach Brian McClennan couldn’t bring himself to discuss his future after a shattering 18-16 loss to Penrith on Sunday consigned his team to a sixth straight NRL loss.
A converted try to centre Travis Robinson with three minutes remaining handed a much-needed win to the lowly Panthers and silenced a crowd of 11,000 at Mt Smart Stadium.
Errors and a tiring defence brought on by more injury bad luck opened the door for Penrith and will keep the fire burning under McClennan for another week.
The first-year coach fended off questions about job security beyond this season – or even this week.
“I’m not sure, I can’t really answer that,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep trying to do the best I can for my players. I’ll control what I can control.”
McClennan said he was involved in talks with Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney on Saturday regarding a possible role at the Warriors but wouldn’t reveal any details.
McClennan preferred to focus on what he felt was a gutsy effort by his team after he was forced to go to the interchange bench six times in the first half. One occasion was to replace tackling-machine hooker Nathan Friend, who exited in the 17th minute with a dislocated shoulder.
“I’ve said to them in the sheds, I’m proud of them,” McClennan said.
“To only have four subs in that second half, that’s a pretty good effort by the lads.”
It was an important result for Penrith coach Ivan Cleary, the former Warriors mentor admitting the game was of a poor standard.
“It looked like two teams who haven’t won much this year, that’s what that second half looked like,” Cleary said.
“Just watching that second half, I thought all we had to do was sort out some of our own issues and we’d get over the line.
“We didn’t manage to do that until three minutes to go.”
The Panthers were locked with Parramatta in last place coming into the round while the Warriors will remain in 13th thanks to Robinson’s late heroics, set up by strong charge from Kiwis prop Sam McKendry.
Following heavy losses to the Sharks and Cowboys, this performance was a return to the Warriors’ previous trend of letting leads slip.
They opened the scoring when centre Ben Henry fell on a Carlos Tuimavave grubber and it was 10-0 when halfback Shaun Johnson intercepted an attempted Michael Gordon cut-out pass and raced 80m to touch down.
A period of Panthers pressure resulted in a try to Kevin Kingston three minutes before halftime after five-eighth Lachlan Coote accelerated into space.
Henry’s converted try soon after halftime was cancelled out by the dangerous Coote with 20 minutes remaining when he spun out of a poor James Maloney missed tackle.
The Warriors are now one loss away from matching their worst-ever season losing streak of seven, set in 2000.© AAP 2013