Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Changes already underway at Warriors

It's also understood current under-20s coach Kelvin Wright won't be returning for the 2017 season. Photo / Photosport
It's also understood current under-20s coach Kelvin Wright won't be returning for the 2017 season. Photo / Photosport

In the wake of another disappointing season at the Warriors, changes are already under way at Mt Smart.

The final decision on the head coach for 2017, which boils down to retaining Andrew McFadden or going in another direction, is expected to be made this month, but three current members of the football staff are unlikely to be employed at the Auckland club next year.

NRL assistant coach Andrew Webster is leaving, and will return to the Tigers, where he was NYC coach in 2014.

It's also understood current under-20s coach Kelvin Wright won't be returning for the 2017 season. The Junior Warriors struggled for most of this season and were 14th going into this weekend, ahead of only the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles.

There were some mitigating circumstances, though, with the prioritisation of the reserve grade side meaning that more than 20 players were given debuts at under-20 level this year, including 10 who were under 18.

Junior development and pathways manager Duane Mann is also believed to be on his way out after three seasons in the role. It's the former Kiwi's third stint at the club after he was a foundation player (1995) and junior elite coach (2003-05).

The decision on the final coaching set-up for 2017 is expected to take at least two weeks. Reviews with individual players will be undertaken this week, with players given plans and targets for pre-season, and instructions for keeping in shape, as well as having the chance for feedback on the 2016 campaign.

Contenders for the Kiwis Four Nations team will have only a few weeks off, before they reconvene as part of the train-on squad.

Reviews with coaching and management staff will also be conducted this week, before the board and senior management meet to discuss their coaching options.

- NZ Herald

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