New Warriors coach Nathan Brown had a short and sharp message for his players looking towards next season - 'don't come back fat or lazy'.
Warriors halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita revealed to media today that the squad caught up with Brown in a Zoom call yesterday.
The Auckland club last month confirmed Brown as the man to lead them into their next era, signing a three-year contract with full-time duties commencing early next month.
"We had a Zoom call with him yesterday and [club chief executive] Cameron George talking about what next season looks like for us at the moment, what's happening with the borders," Harris-Tavita said today ahead of the side's final game of the season against the Sea Eagles on Sunday.
"Brownie didn't really say much," Harris-Tavita added. "All he said was 'don't come back fat or lazy. Just be ready. Otherwise you're going to get left behind. You're going to get left in New Zealand'. He scared a few of the big boys."
Brown, 47, was among a number of candidates to rule themselves out of the running for the head coaching role after Stephen Kearney was sacked in late June, but quickly emerged as a front-runner when interim coach Todd Payten turned down the role to take up a job with North Queensland.
Brown spent time with the club earlier in the year in a consultancy role, working alongside the club's hookers. At the time, George was quick to shut down suggestions he could end up taking the top job should Kearney depart.
Now, having done just that, Brown last month said he has a good base from which to approach making his presence felt in the role.
"I saw a very hungry squad and a group of blokes who want to listen and want to get better, and that's a very good starting base."
Brown didn't shy away from acknowledging he wasn't joining the club to make them a contender immediately, but that the process would take time and consistency was the end goal.
"To get the major prize, that takes a lot of hard work – and that's what the end goal is. It's about improving the roster and improving the players within the squad in the short-term," Brown said.
"The key to any club is sustained success...you need to have sustained success and consistently play finals football. Because you only win big games by practice and unfortunately for the Warriors of late, they've had the odd [finals] appearance here and there, but when they had Daniel Anderson and Ivan Cleary in charge, they had consistent finals performances and then you get a grand final. That's what it's all about.
"It's not about instant success, it's about building something sustainable that gets you consistency, and that consistency gives you an opportunity. You can't just wave a magic wand and all of a sudden, you're going to win something. It just doesn't work like that - if it did you wouldn't be having this conversation with me now."