The New Zealand Warriors have poached highly esteemed North Queensland Cowboys assistant coach Todd Payten.
Payten will join the Warriors on a three-year deal from the 2019 season, replacing outgoing assistant Andrew McFadden, who is set to return to Canberra after a six-year tenure with New Zealand.
Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney was excited to bring a coach of Payten's ilk on board next season.
“Todd’s a young coach who has made a great impression and we’re really excited about having him on board from next season,” Kearney told the club website.
“While replacing Cappy wasn’t going to be easy after the wonderful contribution he has made to our club, we’ve been extremely fortunate to secure Todd.
“After a long playing career, he moved straight into coaching and has quickly established himself at NRL level.”
Warriors general manager of football Brian Smith was also delighted with the signing.
“Todd has served a great apprenticeship as a player and coach at very good clubs and has experienced grand final success as both a player and a coach,” he said.
“He’ll provide great support to Stephen alongside Stacey (Jones) and Tony (Iro).”
Payten 259 NRL games with stints for Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers before retiring due to injuries in 2011.
He began his coaching career heading up the Tigers’ NYC team in 2012, also leading the New South Wales under-18s, before earning a promotion to an assistant role at the Tigers in 2014.
He moved to North Queensland in 2015 as an assistant under Paul Green, helping guide the club to their maiden grand final win over the Broncos.