“These players are hurting … we’ll see a reaction from them”

Published 3:21pm 7 June 2022

“These players are hurting … we’ll see a reaction from them”
Words by Kylie Knight

Interim Warriors’ Head Coach Stacey Jones says he’ll work to bring the NRL team together after the departure of Nathan Brown this morning.

Jones and Warriors’ CEO Cameron George faced the media this afternoon via zoom, after it was announced Brown was leaving immediately earlier today.

George said Brown had his full support going into the back end of the year, despite five losses in a row, but the decision was made to sever ties immediately once it became clear Brown could not commit to being based in New Zealand long-term for family reasons.

“I think none of this situation is ideal,” George said.

“At the end of the day, we both worked together to get to the outcome we’ve got.

“To be fair to him (Brown), he’s worked day and night for this footy club. Have we got the results? No, but he’s tried very hard.”

George said Brown had to make a personal call due to changing family needs.

“We respect that. It’s not ideal but we had to respond the way we did because we believe it’s the best outcome for our club to find a bit more of a stable and long-term solution,” he said.

George denied there was a culture problem at the club and said only those who lived it and understood it “got it”.

“Are things going our way? Absolutely not. We’re not proud of it, we’re not pleased with it. Are we looking forward to getting home? Absolutely we are. You take anyone out of their home environment for three years and you’ll see some cracks certainly appear,” he said.
“The situation we’re in … thing change … things change rapidly and their personal changes, not necessarily professional changes.”

George said not one person had made the decision to leave the club for professional reasons, they were all personal decisions.

“I take a lot of responsibility and I’m very passionate about our footy club now and in the future, while we’ve been trying to survive in a lot of aspects … it doesn’t negate us or give us a free pass for not winning,” he said when asked if he needed to take responsibility for recent turmoil.

George said there were junior and development players the club in the academy system, which he was looking forward to reconnecting with next season and was key to the club’s success.

He has already received phone calls and messages from agents and coaches interested in the opportunity and he wants the next coach to be the first to lead them to a premiership.

In his view, the foundations were there for success.

“I want to see someone with a bit of hard edge to them, a bit of a hard arse. We need to steel up our defence, we need to steel up our attitudes and that’s right across the board,” he said.

George said he was in no hurry to appoint a permanent replacement but hoped to have a good indication around August to allow for planning going into the preseason.

What the next coach needs …

Interim coach Stacey Jones said whoever took on the role, would need a stable team and some luck to go their way.

“Also, they need to come with a passion for the Warriors and embrace the culture of the Warriors,” he said.

When pressed on whether that person should be him, Jones said: “It’s an interim role … for now. The club have been open and they’re looking for the right person to take over, whoever that person might be … they’ll do their due diligence and I understand that”.

Jones said he would give it his best shot.

“Right now, I’m just focused on getting our season back on track,” he said.

“I’m going to put a lot of work into it. We know where we’re at the moment. My message to the group is we need to get the simple things right first – our effort and what we’re doing there is way off the mark and that was the message to the group this morning that we need to fix up small areas of our game to be better. We can’t fix 100s of things, but we can fix a couple of things that will make us a much better side.

“We certainly have to make some changes, whether that be positional changes but at the moment with the group now, we just need to be stable.

“It’s been evident for the last month, our resilience, our steel, our effort it’s not there and that’s the part of the game we’ve got to sort out before we can sort anything else out.

“It’s a big focus for me.”

So, what’s he going to do this week to bring the side together ahead of their game against the Sharks at Moreton Daily Stadium on Sunday (6.15pm kick-off)?

“I addressed our last performance (this morning), that wasn’t good enough and certain areas that let us down and our effort wasn’t good enough. My message was it’s simple – we’ve got to turn up for each other, we’ve got to do the little things right before we can worry about other things,” he said.

“(I said) Just focus on your job and I’ll be clear that they make sure they understand what their job is for this weekend.

“These players are hurting. They feel that they’ve let some people down. We’ll see a reaction from them this Sunday.”

In good news, back rower Josh Curran makes a welcome return from a six-game injury lay-off.

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