Former Canberra Raiders assistant coach Andrew McFadden is confident he can nail down the Warriors job long term. Photo: Hannah Peters
Andrew McFadden left the Canberra Raiders coaching staff because he felt ''a bit stale'', but he has unwavering belief he's the man to breath fresh life into the New Zealand Warriors.
McFadden said it was ''bitter-sweet'' when thrust into the head coach hot seat after Matt Elliott, whom he credits for helping further his career, was sacked a month into the season.
The former halfback played 76 of his 100 NRL games for Canberra and remains passionate about the club, but felt he had to leave to revive his career when he headed to the Warriors as an assistant last year.
"I was feeling a bit stale at Canberra and I felt it would benefit me to move away, it was a decision I made to further my career,'' McFadden said.
"I still have a strong feeling for the club and always hope they do well.
"I needed to see a different environment, and when Matt offered me the job I needed some stimulation to get me performing again.''
McFadden applied for the Raiders head coaching role last year when David Furner was sacked.
Canberra's players respect McFadden and considered him a head coach in waiting, but he wasn't surprised when the club opted for Ricky Stuart.
"I understood the club's decision to go with an experienced coach, that's what they wanted to do, but I felt like I was at least ready to put my hand up for those kinds of positions,'' he said.
"Ricky's doing a really good job with them, but when one door closes another one opens.''
The Warriors' head-coaching job has long been considered a poisoned chalice, with only Daniel Anderson and Ivan Cleary lasting more than three seasons.
"I hope I can nail this job down and stay here for a long time,'' McFadden said.
"I certainly believe in my ability."
How his chance arose blindsided even McFadden, who said he had no inkling Elliott's head was on the chopping block.
The former Raiders head coach handed McFadden his first coaching gig with Canberra's 2005 SG Ball side.
"We certainly didn't see it coming, I didn't get any sense that was going to happen,'' McFadden said.
"It was a bittersweet moment when someone who's encouraged you so much has lost his job, it was hard.
"I thought the way Matty handled the whole thing was really classy."
Elliott had been grooming McFadden as his potential successor, and entrusted the 36-year-old with greater responsibility, which gave him the belief to step up.
"He was looking to push me into the head coaching role at the Warriors anyway, the fact it happened this quickly was a bit of a shock,'' McFadden said.
"He was giving me access to things I hadn't before with recruitment and what not.
"Matt saw some skills in me, he wanted to give me a bit more of a rein and confided in me with his decision making.''
McFadden said the Canberra clash at Eden Park does not hold added personal significance.
The Warriors boast plenty of Canberra inside knowledge with former Raiders Ruben Wiki, Adam Mogg and Carl Jennings on their coaching staff.
"I don't know what it is about Canberra, but it seems to be a strong breeding ground for coaches,'' McFadden said.
"It would be no more special than any other win, to be honest with you."
NRL round nine: New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders at Eden Park, Auckland, 3pm (AEST)
TV: Live on Fox Sports