NRL: NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster deflects credit for players enjoying career-best seasons

Coach Andrew Webster insists the core group of players amid the NZ Warriors' ranks enjoying career-best seasons deserve all the credit for their improvement - not him.

Fifteen games into the Webster era, the Warriors sit fourth on the NRL ladder, with nine wins and six defeats.

The club's resurgent form this year is made all the more remarkable by the significant improvement from players who were part of the team in 2022 - the worst season in Warriors history.

NZ Warriors celebrate.
NZ Warriors celebrate. Photo credit: Getty Images

The likes of Shaun Johnson, Addin Fonua-Blake, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, and Wayde Egan have played some of the best rugby league of their careers through the campaign to date.

And in combination with new arrivals like Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Marata Niukore and Jackson Ford, the Warriors have quietly built a squad that can match the best in the NRL.

Naturally, as the man at the front of the club, Webster has been on the receiving end of praise for a reversal in the Warriors' fortunes.

But, as far as he's concerned, all credit needs to go to the players themselves, rather than the coach giving the orders.

"Individually, they should be proud of themselves," said Webster. "I take a lot of pride in how they've realised it's a team game.

"You're only as good as your weakest link. If the individual's not on, the rest of the team suffers.

"They've got a bond with each other and a real ambition to improve. They don't want to be the guy who's not improving, they don't want to be the guy letting the team down.

"We're seeing players bring their best performances each week because that's what the team needs them to do.

"It's nothing to do with me, it's the fact they want to prepare hard, be professional and help each other win. They don't want to be the guy dragging the chain."

Despite his coach's assertions, hooker Egan is quick to pinpoint Webster - and the confidence he gives his players - as a catalyst for such a rapid improvement. 

"He's been huge for the individual, not just as a team," said Egan. "He just believes in his players, and half the battle is believing in yourself.

"He's been awesome for a lot of guys in this team - hopefully it stays that way."