AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 27: Kiwis Rugby League coach Stephen Kearney speaks during a New Zealand Kiwis press conference at NZRL House on March 27, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand Rugby League has extended Kearneys existing contract for a further two years into the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Warriors are on the lookout for their next coach having parted ways with Stephen Kearney in mid June.

The shock move left a struggling and away-from-home side without a true leader given the fact that even stand in coach Todd Peyton expressed his shock at the axing of his former boss.

Reports over the last week have linked the Warriors to almost every coach on, and off, the market. reported that the Warriors approached Storm supremo Craig Bellamy to take the reigns at the club.

Although you can’t blame the owners of the club for trying their luck with arguably the best coach in the NRL, I feel as though the Warriors brass aren’t exactly being realistic in their search.

With all due respect to the club and its fans, there’s probably a 0.1% chance Craig Bellamy was ever going to make the move across the Tasman. Why would he?

Bellamy has spent over 15 years putting in place the NRL’s best system in Melbourne. He has the complete backing of literally everyone and has the job for as long as he wants it.

He’s settled, he’s well paid, he’s super successful and he’s happy.

At 60 years of age and with nothing to prove, it’s highly unlikely that he would uproot his family and move to New Zealand to rebuild a club from the literal bottom up.

There’s a big risk that his reputation would suffer if he couldn’t deliver success and there’s always the chance that the famously quick triggered Warriors owners would end his tenure before he could achieve success.

No point. It’s not like he’s struggling for a crust nor comes across as a coach motivated by money.

Make no mistake, the Warriors need a complete rebuild. They’ve just announced they’ll be moving their most experienced half on in Blake Green at season’s end, so apart from a superstar fullback, some monster wingers and a few handy forwards, this squad needs a severe overhaul.

Wayne Bennett is the other name linked with the role, supposedly. Again, I doubt in a big way that Wayne Bennett is looking for a rebuilding project at his age. Also again, the move across to the north Island seems a big one.

Simply put I don’t think targeting Bellamy, Bennett or the like is realistic.

The Warriors role screams out for a young or semi-experienced coach who has shown some promise but ultimately has something to prove. Someone who can commit long-term to a rebuild project to see it through.

Someone in the mould of Adam O’Brien who has the Knights humming. Or someone like Justin Holbrook who seems to have the Titans headed in the right direction despite inheriting a dire situation.

The first name that comes to mind if Geoff Toovey. He’s already expressed an interest which shows he’s at least willing to consider it.

A coach with experience and a certain degree of success despite some pretty crazy circumstances. Despite being 51 years of age he’s still relatively new to coaching although he does bring over 120 games experience.

He’s a brilliant footballing mind, as tough as they come and he doesn’t take a backward step. He also has experience dealing with malfunction in head office.

Craig Fitzgibbon is another interesting option. Currently enjoying great success in the Roosters set up, he’s been linked with jobs from Newcastle to St George to now the Warriors.

Reports did indicate he had turned down advances due to having a contract with the Roosters although if the Warriors are serious then they shouldn’t back completely off there.

Every day that the Roosters continue to be successful will see Fitzbiggon’s socks rise. He can afford to be selective with his future so perhaps the Warriors don’t present a super tempting opportunity right now.

That said, he’s the prototype of the coach the Warriors should be targeting, not these coaches in their 60s with hosts of Premierships and no interest.

These calls to Bellamy etc are just a waste of time and show any other less experienced coaches that they’re way down the pecking order.

Right now the Warriors cannot afford to be picky. They do, however, have to take their time and get this appointment right.

The one thing they’ll have to sell any potential incoming coaches on is stability. I can’t see Fitzgibbon being enticed unless given a guarantee (contracted and monetary) to make it worth his efforts.

The Warriors are notorious for sacking coaches as a quick fix.

They’re in desperate need of a complete and possibly painful rebuild. They need to find the right person and support that person for the next five-plus years.

That person has to be a realistic target.


  1. The best coaches to consider in order of preference:
    Anthony Griffin
    Neil Henry
    Craig Fitzgibbon
    Geoff Toovey

    The coaches the Warriors can only dream about:
    Craig Bellamy
    Trent Robinson

    It’s no coincidence that the most successful periods in the Warriors history have been when they had Australian NRL bred coaches. The culture of the club and the NZ born players needs a lot of understanding and investment of time and patience.

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