Ivan Cleary is the sixth Warriors coach - and soon there
will be a seventh. Ben Guild looks back over the efforts of
the men who have guided New Zealand's professional rugby
John Monie. Photo by NZ Herald.
Record: 26 wins, 26 losses.
The story: Super-coach Monie arrived for the Auckland
Warriors' inaugural season from Wigan talking a big game with
high-profile imports Dennis Betts, Phil Blake and Greg
Alexander in tow.
He returned to Wigan two years later after narrowly missing
the playoffs in each of his two seasons with the club.
The team would have made the finals in its first attempt but
for an illegal number of interchanges made during a third
round 46-12 hiding of the Magpies at Ericsson Stadium.
Monie also had the dubious honour of presiding over former
All Blacks Mark Carter and Marc Ellis in his final year.
2. Frank Endacott
Record: 13 wins, 20 losses.
The story: Endacott took over the reins from Monie who
was fired midway through the first Super League season.
He was sacked himself, along with chief executive Bill
MacGowan, the following year, as Graham Lowe and Malcolm
Boyle combined with Tainui to buy the club.
Perhaps best remembered for resurrecting an age-group
coaching strategy of selecting his son without any
3. Mark Graham
Record: 18 wins, two draws, 30 losses.
The story: The former Kiwis captain was named in 2006
as the best player to come out of this country, and was
widely feared even before he crushed Wally Lewis' oesophagus
in a test at Lang Park in 1980.
The Warriors beat the Roosters in Graham's first game in
charge, but major upheaval behind the scenes threatened to
destroy the club while he was at the helm.
Boyle and Lowe were forced out by Tainui in 2000, the team
conceded more than 50 points against the Raiders, Dragons and
Storm, and numerous players were left unpaid as Graham quit.
4. Daniel Anderson
Record: 51 wins, two draws, 39 losses.
The story: Anderson was plucked from relative
obscurity to replace Graham as Eric Watson purchased the club
and cleaned house.
Outgoing boss Trevor McKewen was replaced by Mick Watson and
the playing roster was boosted by the addition of Kevin
Campion, whose face was constructed almost entirely of
stitches. He led the Warriors to the playoffs for the first
time in 2001 where they were destroyed 56-12 by the highly
Anderson won the Dally M coach of the year award in 2002, Ali
Lauitiiti was named the Dally M second-rower the same year,
and the Warriors, led by Stacey Jones, were competitive
against the Roosters in the grand final until a Brad Fittler
40/20 opened the floodgates late in the 30-8 defeat.
The club returned to the playoffs under Anderson the
following year and destroyed the Bulldogs 48-22 in Sydney to
a soundtrack of Ray Warren's exclamations: "Meli's got five!
Meli's got five!"
A 28-20 loss in the preliminary final to Penrith represented
another successful season for the club, which showed no signs
of the depths to which it would plunge in Anderson's
truncated final year.
He quit midway through the 2004 season with a 3-8 record
after Lauititi had effectively been shown the door for
admitting his family and faith were more important to him
than rugby league.
5. Tony Kemp
Record: 13 wins, 24 losses.
The story: Kemp won his first game in charge against
the Raiders, but generally failed to impress during his time
in the role.
The greatest advance made during his stint happened off the
field as the Warriors secured the signatures of Ruben Wiki
and Steven Price.
6. Ivan Cleary
Record: 65 wins, three draws, 65 losses.
The story: Cleary was promoted to the top job after
working as an assistant since 2004. But the club was found
guilty of serious breaches of the salary cap and docked four
competition points before his first game in charge.
The Warriors missed the finals as a consequence, but the
departing Cleary has led the side back to the finals in each
year since - apart from a 2009 season marked by the tragic
drowning of the promising Sonny Fai.