The New Zealand Warriors are coming in for criticism from journalists and fans after firing head coach Stephen Kearney this afternoon.
The club today confirmed that Kearney has been let go after the Warriors' 40-12 defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last night.
Assistant coach Todd Payten will be the interim replacement.
Although Kearney's record as head coach was sub-par - with the Warriors twice finishing 13th in his three years in charge, and his win rate a mere 41.8 per cent - many feel that he deserved longer than six games in charge this season, considering what the Warriors had to go through by uplifting their lives to be based in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Newstalk ZB journalist and commentator Jason Pine led the way, calling the decision "heartless and cold".
Warriors CEO Cameron George said he felt a change of leadership was needed.
"Stephen is extremely professional and has put in a huge amount of effort in the role but, along with the owners, we feel we need to make a change now in the best interests of the club.
"We're so grateful to Stephen for the dedication he has shown to us in what have been difficult circumstances. His commitment, work ethic and concern for the wellbeing of the club, players and their families through this challenging year is testament to his character and we wish him and his family all the best for the future."
Given the Warriors' circumstances have seen them having to loan in a player to ensure they had a large-enough squad, there were joking suggestions on Twitter that they could also be loaned a coach.
Kearney signed with the Warriors as head coach for the 2017 season, guiding the club to the finals in 2018.
Payten (41) joined the Warriors' coaching staff last season after working with the Cowboys. He was a member of their coaching staff when they won the NRL grand final in 2015. During his 259-game playing career, he experienced grand final success when he helped the Wests Tigers to their maiden premiership in 2005.
George said the club appreciated Payten stepping in to take up the role on an interim basis, and the club would now work with the owners on an agreed process to appoint a new head coach.