Warriors playing greats handed key roles

Daniel Gilhooly
Club legend Stacey Jones will play a key role as the Warriors hunt for a new coach

They are the Warriors' two greatest ever players, and now Stacey Jones and Simon Mannering have been handed key off-field roles as the club rebuilds from the Stephen Kearney era.

Assistant coach Jones has been given a greater voice on the training paddock while Mannering will link up with club management and play a role in deciding who replaces the departed Kearney.

Experienced forward Adam Blair welcomed a more prominent role for his former New Zealand teammate Jones ahead of Friday's match against Melbourne in Kogarah.

With Todd Payten promoted to an interim head coach role, Jones has taken on extra responsibilities, particularly with the team's attack.

"Stace is having more of a voice, which is really good because Stace is a rugby league icon in New Zealand," Blair said.

"He has a lot to offer and the more we can hear from Stace, especially our young boys coming through and our halves, it helps those guys out on the field."

Blair said he initially struggled to come to terms with the axing of Kearney, a companion throughout much of his NRL and Test career.

However, he has switched focus to toppling the Storm and liked the honesty with which Payten operated in his maiden week as a first-grade head coach.

Meanwhile, Warriors chief executive Cameron George confirmed Mannering's role in the hunt for a new coach after the former second-rower rang to volunteer his services.

Mannering, who retired in 2018, would offer a player's perspective in helping draw up a shortlist and in making the final decision, George told NZME.

"I'm stoked Simon will be part of it - it is so important to have that footy insight," George said.

"It's very important to have someone with that experience involved."

It was reported that five current players, including Blair and skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, will also be consulted.

The candidates could be finalised by next week, with former NRL coaches Tim Sheens, Anthony Griffin, Geoff Toovey and Trent Barrett reportedly in the mix, along with England coach Shaun Wane.