The struggling New Zealand Warriors on Friday axed six players from this weekend’s match-day squad for “failing to meet team standards” at the National Rugby League club.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden did not specify why he stood down half his first-choice team but Fairfax NZ reported the players went on a boozy night out in the wake of Monday’s 42-0 humiliation by the Melbourne Storm.
“We’ve dealt with this internally after questioning the players involved and won’t be going into any details,” McFadden said in a statement.
The players are New Zealand internationals Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson and Konrad Hurrell, along with Albert Vete and Sam Lisone.
The Warriors boast a talented roster but sit third from bottom on the NRL ladder after three wins from eight matches, with key players failing to perform consistently.
Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle said the affected players would miss Sunday’s match against St George Illawarra and instead play reserve grade.
“We expect our players to be professional and meet our standards, in this instance it’s very disappointing that those players haven’t,” he told Radio Sport.
Warriors players have long had a reputation for lax standards and poor discipline but Doyle said those in charge of the club were determined to make improvements.
“At the end of the day we need to create the environment and the culture that’s necessary to get success and therefore we’re comfortable with the steps we’ve taken.”