An NRL great says the sacking of coach Stephen Kearney has the potential to tear the Warriors squad apart.
The just-retired Wests Tigers icon Robbie Farah, a close friend of interim head coach Todd Payten, said an experienced replacement coach would find the existing situation difficult enough.
And he all but suggested Payten – a former Tigers teammate - might have considered turning it down, for the sake of his career and reputation.
Another former Kangaroo, Brett Kimmorley, weighed in, saying it was not the right time for Payten to get the head coaching role, particularly as the Warriors players would be "down".
Payten takes command of an NRL first grade side for the first time this week, as they prepare for Friday night's match against the ruthless Melbourne Storm in Sydney.
Farah, a former Australian and State of Origin hooker, told NRL.com: "It's huge – for a rookie coach to come in under these circumstances and take control of a side living away from home, with all the challenges they're facing, a coach they really loved having just got sacked.
"It's got the potential to really break the playing group. It's going to be a huge challenge for Toddy.
"I wish him all the best and it's a great opportunity for him. Whether he wants the job long term – it's going to take some time to get them back on track under the current circumstances.
"He's always had the ambition to be an NRL head coach. Is this the right job for him at the right time – I'm not too sure. He has been thrust into a caretaker position.
"I'm not sure if it's the right job for him because as a rookie coach you don't want to throw yourself into the deep end when it comes back and backfires on you."
The 36-year-old Farah, who retired last year after a 300-game career with the Tigers and Rabbitohs, said Payten was a "smart coach".
"One way of looking at it is he's got nothing to lose," Farah said.
"Nobody is expecting much from the Warriors. Everything is going against them right now. If he can get results it's a massive tick beside his name."
Kimmorley told NRL.com Payten had done a fine coaching apprenticeship and this could propel him into the fulltime head coaching ranks.
"He's won a 20s competition at the Wests Tigers and had great success at the Cowboys as part of their premiership-winning side. You always learn something new from each club you go to.
"But it's probably not the right time to get it. You would think the players are down, struggling away from home.
"But if he can sell himself to these players, show that he can improve them, bond them together, when the players get together and say 'hey we need to sign the coach', that's a big selling point."