Cronulla great Paul Gallen says the New Zealand Warriors are “heartless” for sacking coach Stephen Kearney, slamming the “very ordinary” move by the club.
Kearney was told on Saturday morning his services were no longer required by the Warriors, ending a three-and-a-half-year stint as head coach.
The news was delivered just over 12 hours after the team’s listless 40-12 loss to South Sydney on Friday night, leaving the club with two wins from their opening six games.
While the results hadn’t been rolling in for the Kiwis, Gallen argued that they were still in good stead, and was incensed by the club’s decision to let Kearney go considering the sacrifices made amid COVID-19.
“Coaches get sacked all the time I can understand it,” Gallen said on Wide World of Sports’ The Final Whistle. “This is a results-driven business.
“Steven Kearney in his time there has only made the semi-finals once so he hasn’t had a great tenure there so I can understand the need to look for someone else.
“But I think it’s a really heartless decision by the club and the owners to make this decision this time of year. Four weeks into the restart of the season, they’re 2-2, won 50% of their games since they’ve been back. They’ve left the country, they’ve left their families, they’ve come to a place they’re not familiar with and living here.
“To sack him, I’ve got to be honest, I think it’s a really ordinary decision. I really do.
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“I can understand coaches get sacked all the time due to their performances, but the current climate we’re in I thought it was a very ordinary decision.”
Kearney’s sacking comes as the team remains in camp on the NSW central coast, having left New Zealand indefinitely to play in this year’s competition.
Ex-Jillaroo Alana Ferguson was blindsided by the decision and believed the decision hadn’t sat well with, not just Warriors, but NRL fans.
“It’s a hard one to digest given the current climate, but he wasn’t even in the hot seat for it,” She said.
“There wasn’t any attention on that so a lot of us were taken back by the decision. But then taking those things into consideration about what the warriors have done.
“Stephen Kearney has done just as much as the players, he’s given up just as much for the game and to be in the game. So, I think that just makes the decision even harder to digest for fans. It just seems like the timing is a little bit off. It doesn’t quite make sense.”