Townsend: Ruthless McFadden key to success
Warriors five-eighth Chad Townsend has credited coach Andrew McFadden for the position they find themselves in as they head towards the business end of the season.
While McFadden’s charges couldn't beat Newcastle on the weekend, the Warriors still find themselves in the top eight, with Townsend full of praise for the former Canberra Raiders halfback.
With McFadden promoted to head coach in Round 6 following the club's demoralising 37-6 loss to Cronulla the week prior that saw Matt Elliot consequently sacked, Townsend believes the ruthlessness of their new mentor is the telling factor in turning their 2-5 start to the season into a possible finals berth.
"'Cappy' came in after that Sharks game and he has really flexed his authority since then," Townsend tells NRL.com.
"He has put a major focus on our defence, and while obviously Warriors teams of the past have been known for their attacking prowess, he wanted to concentrate on defence.
"We had a goal to be one of the best Warriors teams in defence ever... and I think we have been working really well."
Despite the Warriors winning their past two games before the weekend, Townsend believes McFadden's tenacity to change the team up to suit its needs is his favourite trait of the rookie coach.
With the likes of Dane Nielsen, Feleti Mateo, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Townsend himself relegated to NSW Cup duty at different points of the season, it is clear that no man is safe at the club.
"He isn't afraid to drop players. Whether you're the number one player at the club or you're way back at number 30," Townsend said.
"He is ruthless in what he demands from his players and I think we have responded fairly well as such."
With finals being on everyone's lips leading into the last three rounds of the regular season, Townsend made clear the Warriors’ focus is the week-to-week proposition that the NRL presents.
"It is an exciting time because we obviously want to be a part of the finals. It is in the back of our minds but we know we have to do a job to get there and it doesn't get any easier next week," Townsend said.
"We have three games to go and as clichéd as it sounds we have to take it one week at a time and it isn't going to be any easier this week when we go home [to take on the Roosters]."
With the 23-year-old finally settled in Auckland, with his partner moving across the ditch to live with him permanently, Townsend is at a point where he simply enjoys his football.
Racking up 19 games in his three year stint at the Cronulla Sharks, Townsend has doubled his career appearances at the Warriors since joining the club this year.
With influential halfback Shaun Johnson making his return against Newcastle after missing the past three week, it has been Townsend's control that has kept the Warriors afloat. But the Cronulla junior is quick to deflect any praise and focus on the good work of his teammates.
"I've been pretty happy with the way the boys have responded. We have a pretty simple game plan so everyone knows what their role is. Whether Shaun was playing or not, we still had the ability to win games," Townsend said.
"I have been fairly happy with the way I've been going. I'm not where I want to be yet in regards to my ability. I know I have a lot of improvement in me and I just have to keep improving at training and working hard and hopefully keep getting better."