Former Warriors coach Tony Kemp believes the current state of the club played a large part in Todd Payten's decision to turn down a fulltime role as head coach.

Payten, who took over from Stephen Kearney a little over a month ago after Kearney was fired six games into the NRL season, revealed he was offered the job but turned it down for family reasons.

"My wife's father just started chemotherapy," he told NRL 360. "That was at the forefront of our mind. Obviously with the Covid thing, for her to travel back and forth is very, very difficult.

"That was a big part of it. There were some other issues I don't want to make public. That's my decision and I've made it."

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Former Kiwis and Warriors coach Tony Kemp. Photo / Photosport
Former Kiwis and Warriors coach Tony Kemp. Photo / Photosport

When asked his thoughts on Payten's comments, Kemp told NZME he instead believed it was more to do with the club's structures, management and roster.

"He hasn't made the decision solely on his father-in-law being sick," Kemp said. "He would've taken into consideration a number of his own criteria and obviously it hasn't matched up with where he sees his future at.

"Family comes first as we know, so I think that was an issue that helped him make his mind up; but it wasn't the only issue when you're looking at the coaching of the club.

"You're looking at the roster, you're looking at the structure within the club, you're looking at the recruitment system and probably how long it's going to be before you can get them up to a standard where they're competing consistently in the top four … he's probably thought that it's the wrong opportunity."

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There are a number of coaches understood to now be in the running for the job, including former Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown who has emerged as the new favourite, according to an Australian report.

Brown is reportedly close friends with Warriors recruitment boss Peter O'Sullivan and now has the inside lane.

Nathan Brown served briefly under Stephen Kearney in Auckland as a specialist coach. Photo / Photosport
Nathan Brown served briefly under Stephen Kearney in Auckland as a specialist coach. Photo / Photosport

However, Kemp could only speculate who the likely candidates were amongst a lack of transparency from the club but said they shouldn't rush into making a decision.

"If you read between the lines, they've already started their rebuilding and more or less given the season up from an ownership perspective," he said. "Making decisions, therefore, going forward, it's not that easy.

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"They've just been through three new owners, the current CEO is trying to steady the ship and all of a sudden he's got no coach and he's losing his players left right and centre and you're stuck in the middle of a Covid experience where your players are playing in a different country.

"What happens next year? Do the Warriors go play in Australia again? Do they stay in New Zealand? All of these questions need to be answered and they would want to be answered by any candidate who puts their hand up."