TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: Knights coach Nathan Brown looks on at the post match media conference at the end of during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 22, 2017 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Less than two months ago, Nathan Brown ruled himself out of the race to become the new coach of the New Zealand Warriors.

Now, he is the favourite to take charge of the club from next season, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. 

Brown left the Knights less than a year into the rebuild of the club and is now firming as the clear option to replace Stephen Kearney permanently after interim coach Todd Payten said he had turned down the job.

Brown, 47, was also linked to the vacant Cowboys job, but it appears he will take the Warriors job instead and negotiations between both parties are expected to be finalised in the coming days.

Brown and Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan are close friends, and the desire to become a career coach hasn’t been kept a secret, with the Warriors firming as the perfect job for Brown.

Commentating on the Dragons-Roosters match on Triple M on Thursday night, Brown didn’t give anything to speculate on when asked about the link to the Warriors.

When asked about previously ruling himself out for the Warriors job, Brown said on Triple M: “The timing wasn’t right six or eight weeks ago. There were certain things going on in my life.

“There’s limited [jobs] about and a lot of coaches that want them. Like the Cowboys they’ve got some good younger players coming through and some good senior players.

“Both clubs have potential to grow with good junior bases. You don’t know if a job is attractive until you talk to the people in charge and where they’re at with recruitment and how much time they’ve got.

“I’m a career coach and I love coaching. The Warriors job is a great opportunity, as is the Cowboys job. I’m always in dialogue with the Warriors as I actually work with them as a consultant.”

Former Penrith coach Anthony Griffin was still in the mix to become the head coach of the Warriors, but that appears to have taken a big hit with Brown moving into pole position.

The Warriors have also been circling Phil Gould, who confirmed this week that he is also interested in helping rebuild the Warriors.

The Warriors have been in Australia since late May in an effort to keep the season alive in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and got some reward last week with an upset win over the Wests Tigers.

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said he has received multiple calls to check in if he is doing okay.

“I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately. A lot of people checking in but as I keep saying to everyone I’m pretty lucky,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“I’ve got a strong woman back home and she’s got good support around her. She’s raising the babies really well and I’m just happy to be here doing my job to help her and the kids back home.”