The New Zealand Warriors have announced that former Kiwi Test representatives Adam Blair and Slade Griffin will take up roles as head coaches of the club’s flagship pathways teams.

The teams will participate in the NSWRL’s NSW Cup and SG Ball competitions next year, after a forced hiatus from the competitions due to Covid.

Griffin, currently an assistant coach at the Warriors, will take charge of the NSW Cup side, while Blair will take the reins of the under-19’s side.

“In Slade and Adam we have two talented emerging coaches who have already made a huge contribution to the club,” said CEO Cameron George.

“With the Warriors at last coming home, (the pair) are an ideal fit as we look to re-launch these pathways and revive the model we had pre-Covid to support our NRL side.”

“Slade and Adam have a real understanding and knowledge of what the Warriors stand for and what we are striving to achieve in developing our players for both the present and the future.”

Griffin moved into coaching after being forced into premature retirement by a knee injury during his Kiwis debut in 2018. He was set to be the Warriors’ NRLW coach for the 2020 season before the pandemic put a halt to everything.

Blair finished his NRL career with 331 first-grade appearances (including 65 for the Warriors) and 51 Tests, and has since become an integral part of the club’s Sky Sport Future Warriors system.

Though the club has endured challenges since 2020, George cited a number of key developments in the club’s program, including the number of contracted juniors playing for feeder club Redcliffe in Queensland, as well as over 80 players coming through the Future Warriors system.

“We have made a greater investment into this area than ever before over the last few years, despite Covid’s impact,” said George.

“Our investment will step up significantly in coming years.”