Warriors interim coach Todd Payten reveals he rejected job offer for family

The New Zealand Warriors are still looking for a new head coach after interim coach Todd Payten revealed on NRL 360 on Monday that he had been offered — and rejected — the role.

The exchange appeared to stun show’s hosts Ben Ikin and Paul Kent after Payten revealed the bombshell on the first question.

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It had been long expected that Payten would be high on the Warriors hit list after the encouraging performances from the club despite being housed in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payten took the reigns of the club after former coach Stephen Kearney was unceremoniously sacked in June.

But it hadn’t been leaked despite the offer going through a week ago.

“I had a job interview 10 to 14 days ago. It went well. I’d been offered the job last Monday and I told the club I’m going to turn it down,” Payten said. “It just wasn‘t the right opportunity for myself and my family at this time being.“

Ben Ikin was stunned.

“You‘re telling us you were offered the head coaching job of the New Zealand Warriors and turned it down?”

Payten replied: “It‘s not an easy decision, something I agonised over for a few days but in the end, it was the first time I’ve put my family first in the decision. It just wasn’t the right timing.”

Ben Ikin was stunned by the bombshellSource:FOX SPORTS

The admission shocked the host with both Ikin and Paul Kent seemingly scrambling.

Payten said there was some family pain behind the decision with his father-in-law undergoing chemotherapy.

“With the COVID thing, for her to travel back and forth is very very difficult so that‘s a big part of it,” he said. ”There are some other issues I don’t want to make public but that’s just my decision, I’ve made it, I’m well aware it’s tough for everyone. The club was shocked and disappointed but moving forward, my focus is on getting this side prepared as well as we can week to week.”

It was a shock admission as in the show preceeding NRL 360 on Fox League, NRL Tonight, The Australian’s Brent Read had reported Payten was the favourite to take the job.

Payten said he still has another 12-month contract as an assistant coach and said any new coach would know that he has an assistant coach who is NRL ready.

Why Payten turned down Warriors

NRL 360: Interim Warriors coach Todd Payten opens up on his decision to turn down the head coaching role at the club, and reveals he has been in contact with the North Queensland Cowboys.

The interim Warriors coach also teased another opportunity with Kent identifying it as the North Queensland Cowboys job.

He said he wanted to return to Australia for family, having alerted the Cowboys of his interest although the group have not entered into the recruitment process as yet.

The Cowboys are on the lookout for a new coach after premiership winning mentor Paul Green was told he would no longer be required after this season.

More to come …

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