The Warriors have sacked NRL coach Stephen Kearney, with assistant coach Todd Payten taking over immediately as caretaker.

The axe fell after the 40-12 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last night.

“Stephen was informed this morning that we needed to make an immediate change,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“It’s a tough day for all of us particularly after last night’s performance.

“Stephen is extremely
professional and has put in a huge amount of effort in the role but,
along with the owners, we feel we need to make a change now in the best
interests of the club.

“We’re so grateful to Stephen for the dedication he has shown to us in what have been difficult circumstances.

“His commitment, work
ethic and concern for the wellbeing of the club, players and their
families through this challenging year is testament to his character and
we wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

Payten’s appointment is
his first in the NRL after previously going closest at the Wests Tigers
following Michael Potter’s axing in 2014.

The Tigers’ 2005
premiership-winning player has also spent time at North Queensland as an
assistant, before joining the Warriors last year.

George said the club would begin the search for a new head coach, with Payten only acting in an interim capacity for now.

Former St George
Illawarra and Newcastle coach Nathan Brown is already on the club’s
coaching staff, and had been due to work on a fly-in, fly-out basis
before the coronavirus pandemic.

His work with the club
has since dried up due to the implementation of the bubble, however he
would have to be considered one of the early front-runners.

The Warriors currently sit at 11th on the NRL ladder with two wins and four losses.

Kearney has a 35 per cent winning record as head coach in NRL after stints at the Warriors and Eels.


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