The Melbourne Storm put the New Zealand Warriors to the sword 50-6 on Friday night and helped create an ominous slice of history for the new man in the coaching seat.
After no luck on early attacking raids from the Warriors, the Storm hit back and blew the Warriors off the field to run away with a 22-0 lead at the break. The Storm eventually piled on eight tries by the 62nd minute despite a more spirited performance from New Zealand.
The Fox Sports Lab discovered an incredible statistic that shows what trouble the Warriors are in.
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After making the decision to stand down Stephen Kearney as coach last week, the Warriors came up against the ruthless Storm, who were never going to give New Zealand an inch and interim coach Todd Payten appears to have paid the price of statistical history.
It was the first time since 1931 that a mid-season coaching replacement has come in after an axing and been kept to zero at halftime. That was the North Sydney Bears' captain-coach Tom Wright and the final score in that game 89 years ago was 2-0, a statistic Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane called "unbelievable".
Arguably more incredible was that the Warriors were denied multiple times, with players pushed over the sidelines as they tried to finish their attacking sets.
It took just two minutes into the second half for Patrick Herbert to get his side off the duck, scoring in the 42nd minute but the Storm piled on the pressure, crossing five more times to make it 50-6. and inflict the worst loss for a coaching debutant since Alan Mason at Balmain in 1974.
Late in the game, the Fox League commentators discussed how hard the NRL can be.
"Even though they've conceded a few soft tries, they haven't completely put up the white flag," Ginnane said.
"It's one of those games if you looked at the scoreboard, and you hadn't watched, you'd think here the Warriors are, but it's been quite different," Corey Parker added.
Channel 9's Andrew Johns was right on the money with his prediction that the Warriors wouldn't be able to turn it around with the coaching change. Usually teams can experience a boost in performance but it wasn't so tonight.
"Sometimes when you see the coach get sacked there's the big bounce back, but I don't think any of the Warriors players wanted Steve Kearney to be sacked, which has left a lot of people scratching their heads," Johns said in his WWOS segment.
"They've been in isolation for a long time. With that downer in the week with Steve Kearney being rissoled I think the Storm win and win really well."
After players with Australian families being able to reunite during the week, New Zealand players haven't yet been able to see their families.
Payten said it was affecting his players.
"I think the thing that is getting them is the uncertainty around the families and are they coming over," Payten said in his post-match press conference. "Another thing is that Australian families are already here and they can see that around them.
"We've got a meeting tomorrow with some of the big dogs at the NRL to get some clarity around that. Everyone misses their family, but that's not a good enough reason to perform why we're performing.
"That should actually be the reason why we pull our finger out and work our butt off to do our families justice and all the people back home … but were a million miles away."
Payten added that players might soon look to leave Australia and the coach said "I'm not going to stand in their way" if players do want to go.