Vacant Warriors job talked up by Cleary

Daniel Gilhooly and Scott Bailey
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has nothing but happy memories of his time in charge at NRL's Warriors

Any coach considering taking charge at the Warriors could do worse than sit down for a chat with Ivan Cleary, who insists he has nothing but happy memories of his time as player and coach with the Kiwi club.

He will not sugar coat one thing, though - the gruelling nature of their travel commitments.

The role vacated last weekend by Stephen Kearney has been described as something of a poisoned chalice, but Cleary says his six seasons coaching in Auckland were a hugely positive experience.

Penrith coach Cleary was the last man to lead the Warriors to a grand final, losing to Manly in his final season with the club in 2011.

They have since struggled under six head coaches, including Kearney whose sacking on Saturday has sparked another hunt for a leader to reverse the club's fortunes.

While the Warriors are currently based on NSW's Central Coast because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Cleary says their normal routine of fortnightly trans-Tasman crossings is something a new coach will need to brace for.

"The travel will never go away. It will always be difficult but you can get over it," he said.

"Every week you are flying to or from. It takes a day out of your schedule somewhere. It doesn't mean you can't be successful but it's always something you are working with."

However, Cleary disagrees with the sentiment it is hard to attract top Australian players to Auckland, saying those who have made the move, including himself 20 years ago, generally have had no regrets.

"I spent 10 years in Auckland and loved it. Lifestyle was great. Better tax rate over there too. I don't see any reason why that would be a problem.

"You ask any Aussie who has lived there, they would say it's amazing.

"I started my head coaching career there. I only have good stories really."

Cleary says coaching the Warriors is not the poisoned chalice it is sometimes made out to be but that it is unrealistic to expect automatic success thanks to the large stock of athletic talent available in New Zealand .

"There are lot of good players over there (but) other clubs are trying to get their mitts on (them) as well," he said.

"I don't think they are a sleeping giant ... I don't know what that means. They're just another NRL club trying to do their best."