Two of the Warriors most important recruitment meetings have taken place at Ellerslie Racecourse.

Current owner Eric Watson was first asked about becoming involved in the NRL club by former part-owner Graham Lowe, while he was in the men's toilets of the member's stand on Boxing Day 1999.

Fast forward to late 2015, Watson was back at the racetrack, trying his luck in asking Auckland Racing CEO Cameron George to join his NRL stable at Penrose.

Two years of service on the club's board preceded the 41-year-old Australian's move from Ellerslie into the fulltime role as the Warriors' chief operations officer in May.


That job title was always going to be temporary and - although George and former managing director Jim Doyle denied it to the Herald at the time - today it was confirmed: The former Head of New Zealand Racing's Integrity Unit is now running the joint.

George is the Warriors new CEO, with Doyle moving into the executive chairman role, and Watson set to relinquish his title as the board's head next week.

"I'm really honoured and looking forward to it and together Jim and I can really look at things and see what we can do heading into 2018," said George.

"And to have an executive chairman, with Jim's experience and hands-on approach, will be great for me in the CEO's role."

Watson's exit from the board comes as no surprise, given that he's recently been looking to sell the Warriors and in discussions with several interested buyers.

He's also been largely absent from the club over the last 18 months, with his overseas business interests commanding the bulk of his attention, while he divides his time between the UK and US.

Without Watson on hand, Doyle has been stretched thin - juggling his role as managing director while also taking on responsibilities that would normally fall in the lap of the chairman - including securing the Warriors future at Mt Smart Stadium and playing a leading role in clubs negotiating a lucrative new funding agreement with the NRL.

George expects he'll be able to concentrate more on the day-to-day business of running the Warriors, while Doyle handles the bigger picture stuff.


"My focus coming through this door every day of the week will be ensuring we have the right environment and doing everything possible we can to be a successful unit right across the business," he said.

"The structure we have in place now enables Jim to strategically look at opportunities and he'll continue to work with the NRL from a chairman's perspective and naturally I'll also work with the NRL and other CEO's as required.

"Having a chairman that's local certainly gives a lot of benefit to the whole organisation and to me personally."

The onus is on George to achieve what Doyle has been unable to in three years at the helm - get the team firing and back playing finals football after six years of missing the top eight.

With two games remaining in the regular season, coach Stephen Kearney and his players are under immense pressure to avoid equaling the club's worst record of eight straight defeats when they take on Manly at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

George, who brings a reputation as a straight shooter, says he'll take his time in assessing where things have gone wrong and how they can rectify matters.

"I want to sit down with Steve at the right time, and other parties in the organisation, to review everything," he said.

"I'm certainly looking forward to sitting down with Steve, because he's only been here a year.

"We'll do that at the conclusion of the season and get his thoughts in a review process, give it some thought, and then plan it going forward.

"At the end of the day my job is to make sure that we put the right mechanisms in place to create success."