New Zealand Warriors Media Opportunity
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 04: Warriors Head Coach Nathan Brown during a New Zealand Warriors NRL media opportunity at Mount Smart Stadium on December 04, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors have already lost Euan Aitken, Matthew Lodge and Kodi Nikorima due to their lack of desire to live in New Zealand, and now coach Nathan Brown has followed them out the door.

The Warriors return to their home country in 2023 has soured almost by the week this season, with reports plenty of players have no interest in moving their lives across the Tasman.

The club confirmed on Tuesday morning that Brown would follow them, with the coach unable to commit to a move across the Tasman.

“Nathan told us he had made a personal decision that for family reasons he wouldn’t be able to relocate to New Zealand as originally planned for the long term,” Warriors' CEO Cameron George said in a club statement.

“We fully appreciate his position and the call he has made.

“Given those circumstances we agreed we needed to make an immediate change.

“It’s tough for everyone involved but, in the best interests of the club, we felt we had to go in a different direction now.

“Nathan has worked so hard for our club and we are extremely disappointed it has come to this. We’re truly grateful for what he has done and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”

He has been replaced at the helm of the club by a former legend in Stacey Jones.

The 46-year-old has held a coaching role in Brown's staff during recent years, and will now take over to try and guide the Warriors out of a horrid form run which has seen them lose seven of their last eight.

“Stacey’s love of the club and knowledge of it is unparalleled. He has been on the inside of it for close to 25 years,” George said.

“We’ll be giving him, staff and players all the support possible for the rest of the season.”

Euan Aitken was the first to officially gain a release from the final year of his contract, before Kodi Nikorima followed, being released to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs on an immediate transfer. Aitken has joined the Dolphins for 2023.

It has since emerged that other issues were involved in the departure of hard-hitting prop Lodge, however, he too is believed to have not wanted to move to Auckland with the club when they relocate in 2023.

The club are set to play their first home game at Mount Smart Stadium in over two years during Round 16 against the Wests Tigers before relocating permanently in 2023.

Brown has come under immense pressure in recent times over the Warriors' poor form, with the club losing seven of their last eight and holding the NRL's worst defensive record as they fall into the bottom four, undoubtedly not helped by a long-term injury to veteran prop Addin Fonua-Blake.

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The Warriors become the second club this season to have a change of coach, following Trent Barrett's departure from the Canterbury Bulldogs just a handful of weeks ago.

The Bulldogs are also yet to announce who their new full-time coach will be, with Mick Potter taking over on an interim basis until the end of the season.

The top candidates to take over in coaching land are believed to be former NRL coaches Shane Flanagan and Paul Green, current assistant coaches Cameron Ciraldo and Jason Ryles, and current St Helens English Super League coach Kristian Woolf.

The Warriors have confirmed a process will be started in the coming weeks to appoint a new full-time head coach. It's unclear if Jones would be considered for the role.