Warriors elders embrace return of a former chief
In talks with the Warriors ... Stephen Kearney. Photo: Anna Warr
Senior Warriors players have welcomed the prospect of Stephen Kearney joining the coaching staff next season but the New Zealand franchise isn't the only NRL club considering a role for the former Parramatta coach. Kearney will travel to Auckland this weekend to meet Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah and coach Brian McClennan, who is keen to have the man who succeeded him in the Kiwis job on board next season. Kearney and the Warriors have been in talks about a role for him at the club almost since his departure from the Eels four weeks ago, but Sin Bin understands another NRL club is interested in obtaining the services of the former Storm assistant. The Warriors are reviewing their disappointing season and Scurrah said Kearney had not yet been offered a position but a potential role with McClennan and Warriors and Kiwis assistant Tony Iro, who will also attend the meeting, would be discussed. ''What's certainly going to happen is we're adding more resources to football next year,'' Scurrah said. Stand-in Warriors skipper Manu Vatuvei, who has played under Kearney with the Kiwis, believes he would be a good addition to the coaching staff. ''He's a really good coach and he knows his job and even though he had a bad season this year, it doesn't mean his next few seasons will be bad,'' Vatuvei told TV One News. Warriors captain Simon Mannering said: ''He's had his success at the Kiwis and a pretty good apprenticeship at Melbourne. Unfortunately it didn't go too well at Parramatta. But if you can bring in more assets to help out in certain areas, you'd be silly if you didn't.''
Messam not a Tiger
ALL Blacks star Liam Messam would consider a move to the NRL, but speculation linking him to Wests Tigers next season is unfounded. Messam, who is close friends with Sonny Bill Williams, was in the Tigers sights about the same time they signed All Blacks teammate Ma'a Nonu, but there has been no recent contact and the Chiefs flanker is committed to the NZRU for another season. However, his agent, Kent Hale from Inside Running Elite Management, would not rule out a switch to league after that. ''I think Liam would make a great league player but he is contracted to the NZRU until the end of next year,'' Hale said. ''There was significant interest from a number of NRL clubs when he was younger and I am sure it is something he would consider if there was an approach.'' Neither Hale nor Tigers officials knew from where the recent rumours had surfaced but Messam last week tweeted he was ''Sydney bound … only for 20 hours tho'' and posted photos of his ''not so little godson'' helping Coogee Dolphins under-9s to victory in their grand final at Redfern Oval. Messam is friends with Benji Marshall and the Tigers had identified him among a group of six New Zealand rugby union players they were interested in recruiting. All have since gone on to play for the All Blacks and Sin Bin was told the Tigers' interest was such that Royce Simmons and Peter Gentle flew to Wellington Airport for a secret meeting with Nonu at which he signed. Nonu had played with former Tigers forward Ben Te'o and was also friends with Marshall but the NZRU convinced him to renege on the deal.
Barba rubs it in
FIRST it was Bulldogs prop James Graham lathering his legs with petroleum jelly, then an Illawarra rugby union player was accused of urinating on his shorts before matches to discourage opponents from tackling him and now Ben Barba has revealed he wears body lotion in matches. Asked about his second try against Brisbane last week in which he slipped out of a tackle by Peter Wallace and ran 20 metres to score, Barba told ABC radio: ''Lucky I put a bit of cream on my legs before the game. It was body lotion.'' ARL Commission general manager of football Nathan McGuirk said there were no plans to ban Barba from using body lotion on his legs. ''Earlier this year we had concerns about the amount of a substance used on a player's legs but I am unaware of any concerns since then,'' he said.
Benny-ing the rules
AN amendment to the new media guidelines requiring coaches to conduct an interview with the host broadcaster during the two hours leading up to kick-off has been nicknamed the ''Wayne Bennett rule'' after he told Fox Sports he was only available between 8.30am and 10am last Monday. Technically, Bennett had not breached any rule, as it was stated coaches must make themselves available on game day but the ARLC acted quickly to change the guidelines before other coaches started behaving the same way. Bennett was fined two weeks earlier for refusing a pre-game interview with Fox and another complaint was lodged against him after he only made himself available before Monday night's match against Cronulla in Newcastle at a time unsuitable to the broadcaster. Canterbury is the other club that has been pushing the envelope in regards to the new media guidelines and the concern is that if Bennett and the Bulldogs are allowed to flout the rules then attempts to ensure better and more extensive coverage for fans will be a wasted exercise.
Seibold makes cut
FORMER Raiders and Broncos prop Anthony Seibold has been appointed to replace Parramatta-bound Dean Pay on the Melbourne coaching staff. Seibold, who coaches the Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup, will take over as Storm's under-20s coach from Pay, who has accept an offer to be Ricky Stuart's assistant at the Eels next season.