It has been some 24 hours for the New Zealand Warriors, culminating in Nathan Brown stepping down as head coach and club legend Stacey Jones taking his place in the interim.
The Warriors have faced many challenges over the last few seasons, most notably, not being able to play in New Zealand due to international Covid restrictions.
With the all-clear given to return to New Zealand, their true home, Brown informed the club that he would be unable to make the move across the Tasman due to family reasons.
Rather than wait until the end of the season to make a call, the club acted, with they and Brown parting ways mutually.
“Nathan told us he had made a personal decision that for family reasons he wouldn’t be able to relocate to New Zealand as originally planned for the long term,” said Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“We fully appreciate his position and the call he has made.
“Given those circumstances we agreed we needed to make an immediate change.”
Admitting that it was a tough decision to make given the circumstances, the Warriors did wish Nathan Brown the best and praised his efforts in his time at the club.
“It’s tough for everyone involved but, in the best interests of the club, we felt we had to go in a different direction now,” continued George.
“Nathan has worked so hard for our club and we are extremely disappointed it has come to this.
“We’re truly grateful for what he has done and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”
The man taking his place in Jones is a club stalwart in every sense.
Playing his entire 261-game NRL career at the Warriors, the talismanic halfback or the little general as he was known, has been around the club for a long time.
Initially as a player and in recent years, as an assistant coach and other roles, Jones has been involved at the Warriors for 25 years.
“Stacey’s love of the club and knowledge of it is unparalleled. He has been on the inside of it for close to 25 years,” said George.
“We’ll be giving him, staff and players all the support possible for the rest of the season.”