The Roar
The Roar


Matthew Elliott: The latest victim of the Warriors circus

New Zealand Warriors coach Matthew Elliott is the first to go in 2014. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)
Roar Guru
8th April, 2014
1137 Reads

It’s a tough world in the NRL. Matthew Elliott has been sacked as Warriors coach after 29 games.

The decision is not reflection on his ability as a coach, but rather a sad reflection of the circus that is the New Zealand Warriors. Hell, the CEO Wayne Sccarra didn’t even know they had sacked Elliot when quizzed by the media.

In 20 years this franchise has had ten coaches, four in the last two years, but that’s only half the story. There are many examples of historical blunders and some pertinent questions to resolve.

In 1999 the club nearly went bankrupt after a bad business partnership with a nouveau riche Maori tribe named Tainui. Tainui was more interested in casinos than footballers.

In 2004 the Warriors finished 14th with only six wins in 24 games. Daniel Anderson, who took the club to three playoff appearances in a row, including the 2002 grand final, suddenly resigned in June of that season.

On 27 February, 2006 the NRL announced the club would be deducted four competition points and would also be fined $430,000 after salary cap breaches.

High-profile recruits like Todd Byrne, Denis Betts and Matthew Ridge were all disasters, while success stories like Francis Meli, Henry Fa’afili and Ali Lauitiiti hurried off to England at the peak of their careers.

Brian McClennan and Frank Endacottt, the best Kiwi coaches in the last two decades, failed to inspire good performances. So too did John Monie, one of the best coaches in the history of the game.

Elliot tried to change a culture that is described as “rotten” but met resistance, why? Every time the team under preformed Elliot took the public blame.


At the beginning of this season, he even gave the players more say in how things were run but there has been no improvement in performances, which raises many questions of not just the coach, but the players and the entire organisation.

Some of these questions are:

How will changing the coach all the time actually improve things? What is the main problem with the culture of the club and how can it be fixed?

Why does CEO Wayne Scurrah still have a job, given there have been six coaches since he was appointed?

Why is Simon Mannering still captain when he can’t seem to inspire consistent performances from his players? Which players need to go? Who are better replacements?

Why is a club that has won two under-20s premierships in the last three years and been a long-time powerhouse in the feeder competition been so consistently poor in the NRL?

Why was Konrad Hurrell allowed to turn up to training 10kg overweight after the summer break?

Why would Wellington want to join the NRL when the Auckland example is generally a poor one?


Who is the next best candidate to coach the side?