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Kearney sets fans' minds at ease.

Rich102

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Staff member
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10,745
NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is defending the lack of reinforcements to his squad for his fourth season in charge of the squad.

So far, former Penrith hooker Wayde Egan is the only new face in the Auckland-based club that finished 13th and four points outside a top-eight playoff spot last year.

The Warriors still have one more roster spot to fill for the upcoming season and Kearney doesn't want to make a rushed decision, something he admits the club has been guilty of in the past.

New owner Mark Robinson has put everyone at the club on notice and another disappointing season would likely see mass changes made.

The Warriors returned to pre-season training this week and Kearney remains confident he has a team that will compete for a spot in the playoffs.

"As a footy club, we've been guilty in the past of making panic decisions in the recruitment area, so we're very measured on who we want to bring in," Kearney told Trackside Radio.

Last season, the Warriors suffered a series of close losses and an extra-time draw with the Brisbane Broncos that cost them on the points table.

"We just need to be better," says Kearney. "We weren't at our best for parts of the year, and it showed with those losses and the draw.

"We've made adjustments to our programme, adjustments to our game and we believe these will help us get those results."

One of the biggest talking points for the new season is the Warriors' halves combination.

Veteran Blake Green, who has one year left on his contract, will likely occupy the No.7 jersey, while Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita will battle for the five-eighth spot.

Kearney plans to start Nikorima alongside Green, but knows how quickly things can change.


"At this stage, Nikorima will be [starting]. I know he had a couple of test matches at hooker and he could end up at dummy-half, but my intention is battling it out in the halves.

"[Chanel] is tracking along well. When the second year comes around, the opposition do know more about you, which will be challenging for him."

Off the field, the Warriors have recruited club legend Simon Mannering in a part-time coaching and mentoring role with the club.

Kearney feels the addition of Mannering will be key for the Warriors.

"Simon is the most decorated player we've had at the club, he's the ultimate professional. He wasn't blessed with talent, but he had an appetite for working hard and led by example.

"Our leadership group will need continual development and Simon will play a role with that.

"We have a team competing in the SG Ball Cup [Under 18s] competition, so he'll have some involvement in that too."

The Warriors will have pre-season matches against Melbourne Storm in Palmerston North and Wests Tigers in Rotorua in February, before their season opener on March 14 against the Newcastle Knights.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/spor...phen-kearney-defends-lack-of-recruitment.html
 

LeagueNut

First Grade
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6,905
"We just need to be better," says Kearney.
05a.jpg
 

flippikat

Bench
Messages
2,905
I see another RL website has predicted that Kearney will be replaced by Nathan Brown after another lacklustre start to the season.

Hopefully that happens before Easter so there's a chance of salvaging the season.

While he's not perfect, NB would at least be an improvement - and he's had experience in giving a underperforming clubs a much-needed kick in the pants (or slap in the face, for that matter...).
 
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Big Marn

Juniors
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2,277
I see another RL website has predicted that Kearney will be replaced by Nathan Brown after another lacklustre start to the season.

Hopefully that happens before Easter so there's a chance of salvaging the season.

While he's not perfect, NB would at least be an improvement - and he's had experience in giving a underperforming clubs a much-needed kick in the pants (or slap in the face, for that matter...).
It would make my year if he slapped Blair in the face.
 

Rich102

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10,745
Stephen Kearney has turned to a recipe of skill and speed as the Warriors coach looks to overcome their lack of size upfront in 2020.

Contrary to the views of many Australian commentators, the Warriors do not possess a monster forward pack, particularly compared to the likes of the Broncos, Roosters and Storm, and it's been that way for the last few years.

Leeson Ah Mau is a seasoned international, while fellow props Agnatius Paasi and Bunty Afoa provide plenty of aggression, but it's likely they will have to wait until 2021 for any heavyweight reinforcements to join the club.

The Warriors rely heavily on their back-three of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu'a to get out of the back field and ease the pressure on the men in the middle.



But Kearney has spent the past few months implementing alternative ways to win the yardage battle - and it starts with ball movement.


"Although a lot of people will say about the size of our team, we're not a big footy team," the coach said. "We've got a couple of big wingers but apart from that we're not [that big] when you look around the competition in terms of big forward packs.
Chanel Harris-Tavita is neck-and-neck with Kodi Nikorima in the race to partner Blake Green in the halves.
"We've got to find our way upfield a little bit differently than just using power. To do that you've got to have a good fundamental skill base and that's been a real focus for us during the pre-season."

Kearney did not go as far to say the Warriors would return to the razzle dazzle they were once famous for, but he wants them to be known for their skill.

Asked if they would use a more expansive style this season, Kearney said: "[We're] looking to play to our strengths and that's a big part of our DNA. When we play our best footy we always play with a great deal of skill."

Chief playmaker Blake Green said there was a big contrast to the work of previous pre-seasons, which were dominated by running as they focused on "grinding away" against teams.


The players have still been racking up the miles - there is no getting away from that in the pre-season - but the emphasis on ball movement and speed has been there from day one and is designed to compliment their roster.

"We've obviously got some guys that are naturally dynamic athletes... so we need to play a style of footy that accommodates that," Green said.

"We had a big focus on going set-for-set and grinding away, which will still be an important element for us. But we need to play flat and fast over the ad-line, be dynamic and use our skill if we're going to break some teams down."

Just who partners Green in the halves for the season-opener against the Knights on March 14 shapes as the biggest selection head for the Warriors, with Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita locked in a close battle.

Harris-Tavita underwent wrist surgery in the off-season, with the recovery time taking longer than Kearney expected.

But the coach has been impressed by the way the 20-year-old has bounced back to put the pressure on his more experienced teammate.

"I'm going to say this - it's an open position. It's the old saying, the best man's going to get the role," Kearney said.

"We're just trying to give them both a good opportunity to stake their claim."

The final decision is likely to come down to their performances in the trials, with the Warriors to meet the Storm in Palmerston North on February 22 followed by Wests Tigers in Rotorua a week later.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/leagu...stephen-kearney-ramps-up-skill-factor-in-2020
 

Matua

Bench
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2,839
I think it's a bit Warrioring that Green is a nailed on starter, he was in poor form much of last year, but hopefully he returns to his usual form.
 

Meth

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I think it's a bit Warrioring that Green is a nailed on starter, he was in poor form much of last year, but hopefully he returns to his usual form.

Yeah! I'd love to see him being overtaken, but just not quite at easy with the idea of CHT with Nikorima/Keighran/Perham yet.
 

Mr Angry

Not a Referee
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46,866
I think it's a bit Warrioring that Green is a nailed on starter, he was in poor form much of last year, but hopefully he returns to his usual form.
Indeed was also wondering if Green going down is being looked at.

#round8
 

JJ

Referee
Messages
29,641
My mind is at ease... but think that’s the alcohol rather than Kearney
 

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