Payten to add more flair to Warriors
Todd Payten has promised to bring even more razzle-dazzle to the New Zealand Warriors' play when he succeeds Andrew McFadden as Stephen Kearney's assistant coach next season.
The 2005 premiership-winning player has signed a three-year deal and will focus on attack in tandem with legendary halfback turned backs coach Stacey Jones.
"I think Mooks [Kearney] puts his energy into the defence predominantly so I think myself, along with Stacey Jones will have our hands full in the attack department," Payten, who will depart the North Queensland Cowboys where he is assistant to Paul Green, told Radio Sport.
"I'm looking forward to sitting down with Stacey. I've played against him in the past and really admired the way he went about his business as a footballer so I'm intrigued to see how we're going to work together."
Payten, 39, wasn't shy in promising to implement even more attacking verve into the Warriors who are on the brink of playing September football for the first since 2011 and lead the Telstra Premiership in offloads.
"I've come from a place where I guess it's an attacking mind-set. Played under Tim Sheens in the past so I'll be looking to bring that side of things into the Warriors, enhancing what they already have," Payten said.
"I'm certainly going to sit down with the playing group, particularly the leaders, and talk about where we think the game is going currently and how we're going to build on our strength as a squad and implement that as a playing style."
Payten racked up 259 appearances with Canberra, the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers before injury forced the front-rower into retirement at the end of 2011.
He scored a last-minute try in Wests Tigers' 30-16 grand final win over North Queensland in 2005, moved straight into coaching after retirement at the club before joining the Cowboys in 2015 where he served as Green's deputy as the Cowboys beat Brisbane in the 2015 grand final.
Payten insisted the Cowboys' struggles this season were not a motivating factor in his impending move to Auckland, possibly as early as October.
"It was more around the opportunity to grow and learn again," he said.
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"I've been up here [Townsville] for four years and in that time we've won a grand final and lost a grand final, so there's nothing to do around the fact we're struggling at the moment, it's more to do with my pathway to becoming a head coach and I feel going to a new environment, learning again off a new coach and a new system will do me the world of good."
Payten clearly has designs on a head coaching role in the future but for now, especially in the wake of Anthony Griffin's sudden departure from the Panthers, knows he's lucky to be wanted.
"I'm turning 40 in January so I'm well aware that may happen in two years time or it might happen in 10 years time. I just know that whenever it happens, I need to be the best prepared as possible. I'm not putting a time frame on it, it's too hard to do that."
McFadden is returning home to Canberra at the end of the season after six years with the Warriors.