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NRL 2022: New Zealand Warriors sign Penrith Panthers assistant Andrew Webster to replace Nathan Brown

The New Zealand Warriors will unveil their new coach and find a high-profile replacement for Nathan Brown – despite missing their top target. See the details of his deal inside.

Penrith assistant coach Andrew Webster is announced as the Warriors’ next manager.

As the first major piece of the coaching carousel to be completed, Webster is believed to have agreed to a three-year deal to replace Nathan Brown at the end of the season. Webster was courted for the role after club No. 1 target Kristian Woolf repelled the Warriors.

He has one year left on his contract with the Panthers but has a clause allowing him to leave only to pursue a head coaching job.

Webster has almost two decades of experience as a coach and is largely credited with giving Penrith the best attack in the NRL.

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He is closely associated with the Warriors, having worked as Andrew McFadden’s assistant coach in 2015. He spent two years with the Warriors before returning to the Tigers as Taylor’s assistant.

The Warriors had their sights set on an up-and-coming coach, and Webster fits the bill. He is also the assistant coach of Samoa.

Warriors boss Cameron George said on Wednesday that the club was close to making an announcement.

“We will make a decision on that in the near future. We are close to making that decision and are excited about this announcement,” said George.

Warriors legend Stacey Jones has managed the club on an interim basis since Brown parted ways last month.

The Tigers and Bulldogs are yet to make a decision about their long-term mentor. Webster played for Five Dock RSL as a junior before joining the Balmain Tigers in 1998, where he spent four seasons with teams SG Ball and Jersey Flegg. After a stint coaching in England, he returned to Australia as head coach of the Balmain Tigers SG ball team and assistant to the U20s.

Under his leadership, Balmain won the SG Ball Cup for the first time in 30 years and went on to win the U18 national title against the Townsville Stingers.

Webster went to Parramatta but returned to the Tigers as the under-20s head coach in 2014, winning 16 games and reaching the Finals.

PENRITH ASSISTANT WARRIORS MAIN TRAINING GOAL

Penrith’s coaching staff have come under renewed attack after assistant Andrew Webster emerged as the leading candidate for the Warriors job, while he is also on the radar of Wests Tigers – two clubs he has previously worked at.

Webster, who coached the Tigers to two games in 2017 after Jason Taylor was sacked and before Ivan Cleary came to the club, was the mastermind behind the Panthers’ exciting attack and is understood to have caught the attention of Warriors powerbrokers St Helens manager Kristian Woolf has been drawn in after their failed bid.

Webster is being heavily considered as a potential Warriors option and is closely associated with the club, having worked as Andrew McFadden’s assistant coach in 2015. He spent two years with the Warriors before returning to the Tigers as Taylor’s assistant.

The Warriors have decided they want an up-and-coming coach and appear poised to make the switch to Webster. However, they could face stiff competition from the Tigers.

It is understood Webster is also on a list of coaches in the mix from Tigers, where he would potentially work alongside football boss Tim Sheens.

Support is growing for Sheens to take on a more hands-on role in coaching the side next season, possibly as a mentor and sounding board for a younger coach who would take over the stretch.

It’s the same model the Dolphins are using as a blueprint for a succession plan when Wayne Bennett steps down in two years.

Webster has close ties to the Tigers as a former junior league player and longtime member of the coaching staff who rose through the junior ranks to top job.

He also has a long-standing relationship with the Sheens – his brother James was Sheen’s assistant at Hull KR.

While much of the attention has focused on Ciraldo, it seems Webster is more likely to take a top job elsewhere.

The Tigers were forced to reconsider their coaching plans when Ciraldo decided to turn down their offers and turned his back on the security of a five-year contract.

He is expected to remain at Penrith, although Canterbury are also interested in his services and rumors have surfaced in recent days that Parramatta is keeping an eye on his situation.

Webster is understood to have one more season to complete his Panthers deal, but is free to pursue a head coaching position elsewhere.

Webster played for Five Dock RSL as a junior before joining the Balmain Tigers in 1998, where he spent four seasons with teams SG Ball and Jersey Flegg.

After a stint coaching in England, he returned to Australia as head coach of the Balmain Tigers SG ball team and assistant to the U20s.

Under his leadership, Balmain won the SG Ball Cup for the first time in 30 years and went on to win the U18 national title against the Townsville Stingers.

Webster went to Parramatta but returned to the Tigers as the under-20s head coach in 2014, winning 16 games and reaching the Finals.

The Warriors were hard on Woolf’s tail and owner Mark Robinson met the St Helens coach in person during a recent trip to England.

However, he failed to persuade Woolf to replace Nathan Brown. Woolf instead appears likely to take a job as Bennett’s assistant to replace the seven-time Premier League winner in a couple of years.

The Warriors want Webster to step into the void, but he may have to make a decision if the Tigers express an interest in him. Tigers legend Benji Marshall backed Sheens to play a prominent role coaching the side and Webster has emerged as a serious candidate to work with the man who guided the club to the Premier League title in 2015.

Webster, John Morris and interim Brett Kimmorley are among those being mooted by the Tigers.

Originally released as NRL 2022: New Zealand Warriors land Penrith Panthers assistant to take on Nathan Brown

https://www.codesports.com.au/nrl/nrl-2022-new-zealand-warriors-circle-penrith-panthers-assistant-to-take-over-from-nathan-brown/news-story/3e0f41eee390b8f68fc5676984e5a473?nk=22a4d188a73f191ef540513349410c49-1657159625 NRL 2022: New Zealand Warriors sign Penrith Panthers assistant Andrew Webster to replace Nathan Brown

Nate Jones

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