Sydney Morning Herald

New Warriors owner demands culture change with heat on Kearney

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 13/10/2019 0:41:00 Adam Pengilly
Stephen Kearney wearing a blue shirt: Stephen Kearney was the first man to lead the Warriors to the finals in seven years, but faces a testing time in 2020. © AAPStephen Kearney was the first man to lead the Warriors to the finals in seven years, but faces a testing time in 2020.

The Warriors' sole owner has put the club's underperforming players on notice and hinted coach Stephen Kearney "will have an issue" at the end of next year if on-field performances don't improve.

Autex Industries chief executive Mark Robinson conceded the club's culture desperately needs to change and made the frank admission he won't be worried if the Warriors don't crack the finals next year as long as they show some consistency.

The manufacturing firm struck a deal with Carlaw Heritage Trust to buy its 67 per cent stake in the Warriors less than a fortnight ago, ending a partnership between the two entities which lasted just over a year.

Robinson, who will stay on the Warriors board as a senior director while Autex managing director Rob Croot remains as chairman, will put Kearney's future on the agenda if the club struggles again in 2020.

The coach only inked a three-year extension earlier this year to stay at the helm of the Warriors until the end of 2022, largely on the back of leading the Warriors to their first finals appearance in seven years in 2018.

But he faces a difficult test next season after the club languished in 13th position this year finishing above only the Cowboys, Dragons and Titans.

"I think the culture in the club needs changing," Robinson said. "It's what I want to do. There's inconsistency in the club and they turned up when they wanted and sometimes they didn't.

"Stephen knows if the team performs the same next year as it did this year there's going to be an issue. That's just business. That would happen to anyone.

"All I want from them [next season] ... I just want them to play good consistent football. I don't want you to win a grand final, I don't want you to be top eight, I just want good consistent football week in, week out. If you do that you'll make the top eight. If you do that and get a bit of luck you might make the top six.

"And then we'll develop from there. I don't want to be the Broncos making the finals and getting thrashed 58-0. If we made it that could have been us [this year]."

Fitness guru Alex Corvo won't be with the Warriors next year and Robinson plans to meet Kearney over a number of issues, including his backroom staff.

Also high on the priority list will be reshaping the club's recruitment strategy to attract marquee players heading into the prime of their career rather than mixing emerging talent with experienced players in their twilight.

Asked about the future of Dally M Medal winner and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Robinson said: "I'd rather sign him for the rest of his career if I was going to. Once we get settled down we'll have a look.

"Roger is a great man. His football has been outstanding and he needs to improve on his leadership.

"I want to bring this club to where it should be. I want it to be one of the best clubs in the NRL and I've got a nation behind me. All we've got to do is tidy some things up and start attracting some good players. Then we'll be able to give it a crack.

"The good thing about this is I spent a year travelling around with them and getting to know them. I'm a real people watcher and I've seen a lot of things that are unusual where I might think, 'hang on a minute'.

"I want to sit down with everyone involved and ask some questions. I might be completely off, but we want to get to the bottom of it."

13. lokakuuta 2019 3:41:00 Categories: RTBF Sydney Morning Herald culture - cinema

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