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McClennan gets the sack from struggling Warriors

Brian McClennan said he was not surprised to get the phone call which ended his brief spell coaching the New Zealand Warriors.


Brian McClennan

BRIAN McClennan said he was not surprised to get the phone call which ended his brief spell coaching the New Zealand Warriors.

The former Kiwis boss was given his marching orders with two games left in the 2012 season, less than a year into his two-year contract, following the team’s loss to the Panthers, their six defeat in a row.

The decision was made by the club’s board and he was informed on Monday evening.

“I could feel it,” he said, of the unwelcome phone call.

“I could feel it coming.”

The Warriors made last year’s grand final under Ivan Cleary, but now lie 13th on the 16-team NRL table and in the midst of their second-equal worst losing streak in club history.

While they have suffered a horror injury toll, McClennan took responsibility for the poor season.

“I take all responsibility for the results this season,” he said.

“I’m the head coach and we didn’t get across the stripe enough times, or stop them from scoring enough times, to win some tough games.”

He was disappointed not to have the chance to make amends and learn from his errors.

“I’ve made some mistakes along the way, but even when I’ve had teams that have gone on to win premierships; I’ve made mistakes along the way there as well.”

“Unfortunately, I won’t get a chance to learn from the things I’ve seen, and that’s the bit that gets me a bit. The things I’ve seen that we can improve on, I won’t get to fix them up.”

Assistant Tony Iro while take the reigns for the final two matches against the Dragons and the Raiders.

Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club will then begin an extensive search for the “best possible” coach to fill the vacant position.

The news come hard on the heels of Steve Kearney, former Eels coach and current Kiwis boss, meeting with the Warriors as well as his employers at New Zealand Rugby League.

The NZRL have said they will not stand in the way of Kearney applying for the now vacant coaching position.

It is understood the players were keen for McClennan to remain, with Lewis Brown telling Fairfax NZ it was important “to not chop and chance too much”.

Scurrah said: “We know how disappointed Brian is and we’re equally disappointed for him and for everyone who is associated with the Warriors.

“Brian is a person of wonderful character and integrity, he’s so passionate about rugby league and he’s put in an exceptional amount of time and effort into trying to turn the team’s fortunes around.

“He brought a lot of energy to the club and made a fantastic contribution off the field with his interaction with sponsors, members and in the community.

“We wish Brian and his family all the best for the future and thank him for his efforts.”