Warriors need 'huge overhaul' that includes cutting Johnson says former NRL great
Shaun Johnson’s place in the Warriors’ overhaul has been questioned by Mick Ennis, who fears emerging New Zealand talents no longer aspire to play for their NRL club.
The Warriors coughed up a 12-0 lead to lose 38-16 to Cronulla in Redcliffe on Sunday night in Stacey Jones’ first match at the helm after coach Nathan Brown’s abrupt exit.
At 4-10 and now three games outside the top eight, the currently Queensland-based club is treading water until games in Auckland later this season.
They’ll move back for good next year, at which time 274-game veteran Ennis says they must “put their club back on the map”.
“The Warriors need a huge overhaul,” he told Fox Sports.
“This (coaching change) is a chance for their club to reset.
“Finals in 2018, they’ve missed nine out of the last 10 finals. They’ve been consistent at being unsuccessful.
“They need someone like Craig Bellamy to completely change the fabric of their identity.
“The were once a feared side because of their power, unpredictability and their athleticism … they aren’t that any more.
“I’m not sure young kids in New Zealand aspire to play in this team.
“The ones that are passionate (about rugby league), ask their managers, ‘Can I go to the Storm, Parramatta, the Roosters?'”
Playmaker Johnson has returned on a two-year deal to finish his career where it began in 2011.
But, with his growing family across the Tasman, he’s battled poor form and is under increasing pressure.
“I don’t know if they’re a better footy side (with him),” Ennis said.
“He hasn’t been anywhere near the Johnson we grew to love at the Warriors a long time ago, and that’s part of the reset.”
Interim coach and club great Jones admitted the halfback was battling.
“Being away from his family has put a bit of pressure on him to bounce into training and perform,” he said.
“He’s the first one to put his hand up but he’s not The Lone Ranger.”
The stand-in coach said he was “very nervous and a little bit scattered upstairs” when he first took the reins.
“Then I got excited,” he said.
“It’s not nice what happened to Browny, but I love this club and I’ll do my best.
“I just want to win some footy games and if we do that we’ll have fun doing it.”
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