'No one feels safe': Warriors boss opens up on life after Kearney

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 12:58PM
Axed Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. Photosport

'No one feels safe': Warriors boss opens up on life after Kearney

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 12:58PM

New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George says he didn't sound out other coaches before sacking Stephen Kearney.

A subdued sounding George told Martin Devlin he had already received about a dozen approaches since it was announced on Saturday evening that Kearney had been fired.

George said the decision to part ways with Kearney, whose three-and-a-half year tenure was doomed by another shocker this time against the Rabbitohs on Friday night, was a "collective" one involving himself and owner Autex Industries.

When asked if he felt safe in his own job, given the club's continual failings, George said: "No one feels safe at the club - it is performance driven.

"There are accountability measures in place.

"That's the fact of life of not only working at the Warriors, but working in sport. We see it worldwide."

Kearney, whose reign was dominated by inconsistent team performances, has been replaced by his assistant Todd Payten on a temporary basis for now. George reacted strongly over any suggestion another coach had already been approached.

"There's no way in this world I would have gone and spoken to another coach behind Stephen's back," he said.

"We have a very capable person in Todd Payten to step in as an interim until such time we undergo a process to see who is out there.

"Overnight I would have had a dozen people contact me around the role already.

"People wanting to put their hand up for the job isn't a problem. We just have to make sure we follow due process and take our time to find the best possible person for the role."

George reiterated that the timing of Kearney's firing was very unfortunate, because the team is camped in Australia during the virus crisis.

"It's not my style, to make a phone call. It's very difficult for everyone, because of the unique circumstances we are in.

"But it doesn't negate the responsibility we have ensuring we make calls in the best interest of the club.

"There's never a good time to do this. For a bloke like Stephen who I have a lot of support for and a lot of time for, it was really challenging, really difficult."

George said the Warriors wanted to "do the best we can for our fans'.

"If we implement it now it gives us chance to improve our performances at the back end of the year," he said.

"We need to improve absolutely no doubt about it. Steve is a tremendous person. He has a tremendous work ethic. I'm very close to him.

"It's nothing around Stephen himself - it's purely a business decision. You've got to make these decisions form time to time and we've done so.

"At the end of the day we've got an owner, we're a privately owned club, and that's where the decisions are made.

"From that perspective not every decision will be popular or unpopular.

"I didn't say it was just the owner himself - we're a privately owned club and the decision making process is a collective amongst the owner's representatives, whoever they might be, and management, (which is) myself."