Paul Green has landed on the Warriors' coaching radar less than 48 hours after parting ways with North Queensland.
NRL.com understands Green was discussed by the club's hierarchy on Tuesday evening in their latest phone hook-up, with an approach for an interview expected given the ex-Cowboy coach's premiership-winning credentials.
Green's addition to the Warriors potential candidates list comes as interim coach Todd Payten ranks as a leading contender to succeed his old mentor in Townsville.
Payten also remains well and truly in the frame to take charge of the Warriors full-time.
But his ties to the Cowboys – where he coached their under 20s for four years and was Green's assistant en route to the 2015 premiership – have Payten high up North Queensland's pecking order.
Sharks bite back at reports linking Green to Cronulla
Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters has also been linked to the position, with the Cowboys holding genuine appeal as he maintains a keen desire to test himself at NRL level.
Walters signed a one-year extension to lead the Maroons in 2021 but QRL officials have indicated they would consider a release if requested.
NRL.com understands North Queensland management informally raised the prospect of an extension beyond 2021 for Green only earlier this year.
Hannay desires Cowboys coaching role
As a result, Green was left stunned when time was called on his seven-year tenure last week.
The Warriors are resolving to conduct an extensive search for Stephen Kearney's long-term successor, while Green has also been strongly linked to his old Red Hill stomping ground.
The Broncos on Tuesday reiterated short-term support for Anthony Seibold, but will review his performance, as well as that of every Brisbane employee, at the end of an increasingly dire 2020 Telstra Premiership campaign.
The Warriors' coaching search has been ongoing since Kearney had his tenure abruptly ended at the start of June, with CEO Cameron George stressing he and club owners Mark Robinson and Rob Croot are still in the process of first-round interviews.
North Queensland's sudden entry into the coaching market could yet place pressure on the Warriors to firm up their own target, especially if they decide Payten is the man to take them forward.
But George said the Warriors will not hasten their search for a new coach based on rival clubs.
"You'd have to ask Todd if there's been interest from outside," George told NRL.com of the Cowboys' interest in Payten.
"But Toddy certainly knows where he stands with us and we're talking with him all the time.
"We've got a few more interviews in the pipeline, but we're not racing to any clock or anything like that.
"We're keeping the conversations going, but it's not like we're looking over our shoulder thinking we've got to hurry up or anything like that.
"We're taking our time and leaving no stone unturned because this is such an important decision for the club and our future."
Interim Cowboys coach Josh Hannay also put his hand up to take on the role for 2021 and beyond leading into his first game in charge against Manly on Friday night.
Green opens up on his exit from the Cowboys
Club favourite Aaron Payne was added to Hannay's staff for the rest of this season on Tuesday having coached several young Cowboys through his most recent role with feeder club Townsville Blackhawks.
"I would like to think the club wouldn’t be giving me this opportunity if they didn’t think I have something to offer, not only now but into the future," Hannay said.
"I will be approaching it as an opportunity to well and truly take my chance and show the club and the playing group what I’m about.
"It’s certainly a golden opportunity if I do want to become a head coach - which I do."