AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 19: Tongan coach Kristian Woolf during the Tonga Captain's Run at Mt Smart Stadium on October 19, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors search to replace the recently departed Nathan Brown has hit its first dead end, with Kristian Woolf determining that he isn't interested in a move to Auckland.

The Warriors, who have struggled for form this season, are looking forward to their return to Auckland next weekend to play what will be an emotional homecoming match against the Wests Tigers after being based in Australia since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

But they will do it with their future still under the microscope.

Alongside a number of players who are exiting the club on the back of an unwillingness to travel to Auckland, Nathan Brown decided the same, although may ultimately have been pushed out of his job if he couldn't turn things around once the club returned home.

According to News Corp the Warriors elected Kristian Woolf as their number one target to take over from Brown, however, he has rejected the club on the grounds that he'd like to be based in Australia.

Woolf himself hasn't ruled out an extension of his time at St Helens, where he has had nothing but success since taking over the top job.

A successful coach at every level of the game outside of the NRL, Woolf is also likely to be targetted by the Wests Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs if they fail to land Cameron Ciraldo, while new rumours also suggest he could serve as Wayne Bennett's assistant for the next three years before taking over as the Dolphins' second head coach.

It's understood Warriors owner Mark Robinson flew to England to meet with Woolf, with a long-term offer on the table which has since been turned down.

It's unclear where the Warriors will turn next, with Michael Maguire not in the running and Shane Flanagan ruling himself out.

It's understood the club would like to hire an emerging coach, which could leave a host of current assistant coaches in the mix, with Josh Hannay's name formerly linked to the role.