Stephen Kearney sacked as New Zealand Warriors coach

Publish Date
Sunday, 21 June 2020, 10:16AM


The Warriors have sacked coach Stephen Kearney with two years remaining on his contract.

The club today confirmed that Kearney has been let go after the Warriors' 40-12 defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last night.

Assistant coach Todd Payten will be the interim replacement.

The Warriors players and staff were informed of the decision this afternoon.

"Stephen was informed this morning that we needed to make an immediate change," said Warriors CEO Cameron George.

"It's a tough day for all of us particularly after last night's performance.

"Stephen is extremely professional and has put in a huge amount of effort in the role but, along with the owners, we feel we need to make a change now in the best interests of the club.

"We're so grateful to Stephen for the dedication he has shown to us in what have been difficult circumstances. His commitment, work ethic and concern for the wellbeing of the club, players and their families through this challenging year is testament to his character and we wish him and his family all the best for the future."

Kearney signed with the Warriors as head coach for the 2017 season, guiding the club to the finals in 2018, but finishing in 13th the other two seasons, before a 2-4 start to the disrupted 2020 campaign.

Payten (41) joined the Warriors' coaching staff last season after working with the Cowboys. He was a member of their coaching staff when they won the NRL grand final in 2015. During his 259-game playing career, he experienced grand final success when he helped the Wests Tigers to their maiden premiership in 2005.

George said the club appreciated Payten stepping in to take up the role on an interim basis.

He added he would now work with the owners on an agreed process to appoint a new head coach.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission