Job pressure no factor for Warriors coach

Daniel Gilhooly
Stephen Kearney says he's not feeling any pressure despite warring words from the club's new boss

Stephen Kearney goes into his fourth NRL season in charge of the Warriors saying job security isn't on his mind despite the agitating words of the club's new boss.

Kearney is about to begin the first year of a fresh three-season contract but Warriors owner Mark Robinson has said the coach is on a "short rope" amid mounting pressure to bring success to Auckland.

Robinson made it clear he wants to see a speedy turnaround in fortunes in an interview aired soon after his company, Autex Industries, assumed ownership from the Auckland Rugby League last September.

Under Kearney, the Warriors have finished 13th, eighth and 13th, a record that Robinson said wasn't good enough in one of his few interviews assessing the club's on-field issues.

He singled out Kearney and football manager Brian Smith as the two men under his microscope. Smith has since left the club.

"Brian Smith and Stephen Kearney - that's where the buck stops," Robinson told Radio Sport.

"Next year (2020) has got to be better ... Just like a business, if you are not getting the performance out of people who work for you they, of course, are on a short rope."

Kearney has had the off-season to soak up Robinson's comments although he said in numerous chats with the owner, the topic of his job security hadn't arisen.

"I'm under no illusions but I haven't had that conversation with Mark," Kearney told AAP.

"I don't feel under pressure because I don't think that way. It's always the same for me. All I'm thinking about is 'how do we prepare to perform our best at the weekend?'."

Having barely added to their 2019 playing roster, the Warriors are rated firm outsiders to qualify for the finals, with some commentators labelling them wooden spoon favourites.

The Warriors did little to change that perception after two trial losses and a winless display at the pre-season Nines.

Kearney has faith in the tactical changes he has installed and said he'll stake his reputation on what he believes works.

"I've been around the business long enough to know what it's all about. My focus is on preparing the group as best I can and that's the case with any professional team, in terms of performance."

Kearney has injury concerns to occupy his time, with star captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (foot), prop Agnatius Paasi (ankle) and second-rower Josh Curran (calf) all fighting to be fit for next week's season-opener against the Knights in Newcastle.