Warriors NRL coach Stephen Kearney will return to New Zealand earlier than expected after his shock dismissal.
The club made the ruthless decision on Saturday despite the team moving to Gosford indefinitely due to coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions.
The call came after a side-scoring 40-12 side defeat in South Sydney on Friday night, leaving them with two wins in their first six games.
The biggest loss of all: Axed coach Stephen Kearney is leaving for New Zealand. Photo: AAP
The playgroup was addressed on Saturday afternoon, with assistant coach Todd Petten taking over as immediate caretaker.
Kearney’s term ended after a three-and-a-half-year stint, and in six months he signed a three-year extension in February, 2016.
The Warriors won 33 of those 9 games, making only one final appearance, with chief executive Cameron George insisting it was not an overnight decision.
“On the field and on the field we have certainly had a challenging year, but last year it was also behind a challenging year,” George said on Saturday.
“It’s a synthesis effect that we ourselves, as CEO, need to make decisions in the best interests of the club going forward.”
George also defended the decision seven weeks after the players and staff left the family behind to move to Australia temporarily.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
George said, “This alone is very difficult … Yes, from person to person, my respect for Stephen, I would appreciate more for being with him personally.”
“But in a situation that’s not ideal for so many people, especially our club at the moment, that was the only option we talked about.”
Four heavenly years
George, who said no player had been consulted about Kearney’s death, also did not let the team’s attitude affect him in the call.
“Where did you draw the line? We need to look after the best interests of the club going forward. This is not the ideal time because of the situation, ”he said.
“But it does not disregard us and my core principles of club decision making, which is the interest of the first club and the future of the club.”
He said Kearney’s fruitless four years were enough time to give better results.
“It’s definitely a long time in anyone’s world,” George said.