Kearney 'shattered' by Warriors sacking

By Te Ao - Māori News
Stephen Kearney at Friday night's press conference following the Warriors 40-12 defeat by the Rabbitohs.  Photo/Sky

The Warriors have sacked coach Stephen Kearney, news that CEO Cameron George who delivered the bullet said left Kearney "shattered."   

Kearney was told Saturday morning he was being let go and staff and players were informed in the afternoon.

"Stephen was informed this morning that we needed to make an immediate change," said George.

"(He) took it on the chin but was certainly shattered about it," he said in a Zoom interview with media.

George said the sacking was "certainly made harder by the fact that I couldn't sit down with Stephen in person."

Warriors assistant coach Todd Payten is to be his interim replacement until a new appointment is made.

George says the club does not have a shortlist of candidates. "Obviously, we're in NZ, in normal circumstances that might not suit a lot of people who are available out there at the moment. So there are a number of factors people who are looking for coaching roles will have to weigh up when they consider clubs like ours."

The sacking comes off the back of Friday night's 40-12 loss to the Rabbitohs but after stand out wins over the Cowboys 37-26 and St George 18-0 since the restart of the Covid-19 affected season.

“We’ve got to look after the club’s best interests moving forward and it’s not ideal timing absolutely not because of the situation we’re currently in." 

The Warriors have had to contend with difficulties other NRL clubs have not, including needing to base themselves away from home in Australia because of the impact of the pandemic. 

"None of this just pops up overnight," said George. "Over an extended period of time, we constantly review performances on and off the field of all staff and players.

"We've obviously had a challenging year on and off the field but that's on the back of a challenging year last year as well. So it's a compounding effect."

The Warriors finished 13th last year and currently sit in 12th position in a 16 team competition.