Incoming Warriors coach Nathan Brown said stood-down Dragons forward Jack de Belin is one player he'd be interested in signing should the possibility arise.
Brown was announced on Saturday as the coach from 2021-23. It will be his fifth senior role and his third NRL club after the Dragons and Knights. He also had stints with Huddersfield and St Helens in Super League.
Brown said he's already started conversations with Warriors recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan, not interim head coach Todd Payten, on improving the playing roster.
"The club has been talking to Jack de Belin and that's well-known," Brown said.
De Belin must first have finalisation in his pending court case regarding sexual assault allegations before the NRL will consider any contract that is lodged.
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"As far as the rest of the roster goes we're still going through it. Young players starting to play well need to be looked after and older players, when their time comes, they need to move on," Brown said.
"Over the next few weeks we'll get our head around things. There's a few ideas already but nothing that I'd like to publicly discuss."
That shut down any talk of whether Bulldogs backrower Adam Elliott was another Brown had his eyes on.
Payten, who was offered the Warriors job but turned it down, insists the Newcastle-style rebuild Brown initiated in his previous gig wasn’t needed at the Warriors.
We both have great respect for each other. He'll bring plenty and he's always a good ear to lean onNathan Brown on working with Phil Gould
He told the media after Friday night's 26-22 win over the Sea Eagles that his preference would be another tough middle forward and a strike centre.
It was Payten's knock-back that led Warriors owner Mark Robinson, along with CEO Cameron George and chairman Rob Croot, to re-engage with Brown.
He had spoken casually with the club two months ago after Stephen Kearney was sacked, but initially wasn't keen. That all changed in the past week with a couple of hours conversation on Thursday sealing the deal.
It's the second big fish the Warriors have hooked. Former premiership and NSW Origin-winning coach Phil Gould is now a club-wide consultant looking at all the football structures and pathways in the club along with commercial links and development.
"Gus's role is a very different role to mine. I'm obviously the day-to-day running of the club from a first-grade point of view and Gus is there to help not only the business to grow but the juniors pathways and academy," Brown said.
"I've had a long-standing relationship with Gus… I've known him for a long, long time and played against sides he's coached. We both have great respect for each other. He'll bring plenty and he's always a good ear to lean on."
Brown said the key to the Warriors trying to secure a maiden NRL premiership – after two grand finals (2002, 2011) - was playing final football consistently.
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"You only win big games by practice. Unfortunately, the Warriors have had the odd semi-finals here and there but when they had Daniel Anderson and Ivan [Cleary] in charge, they had consistent finals and then a grand final," he said.
"That's what it's all about. Not instant success but building something that's sustainable to get you consistency. And that brings you opportunities."
Brown's combined time at the Dragons and Knights as a coach was 245 NRL games for a 42.5% winning margin. But he had a 59.1% winning rate in Super League.
Asked if he felt he was now a better or different coach, after lessons learned at the Dragons and Knights, he said: "I've coached now for a long time now – doesn't matter if it's been the NRL or England.
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"The great thing is the more you coach the more experience you get. Nothing beats experience. It's one thing to have knowledge but it's another to have experience and know-how to use it.
"I've learnt lessons in football and in life [with previous jobs]. You are always learning.
"At St Helens I was fortunate enough to win a grand final and at 47 years of age I've been fortunate to have a number of CEOs and owners to back me and support me.
"I feel I'm not even in my prime yet."
Robinson said with Brown and Gould on board, the club was building a very strong base.
The positions of football manager and assistant coaches won't be finalised until later in the year. If the COVID-19 pandemic is still active, the club might have to base itself in Queensland, although the preference was Auckland.
"We're going to have some fun because it's all about that as well. But we're going to knuckle and down and really push hard over the next two to three years to make this one of the best clubs in the NRL," Robinson said.
"That's why we're doing it for the New Zealand people – that's the most important thing – we're just going to go for it."
Brown said the Warriors were in "a far, far better situation" than the Knights.
"But when a coach is asked to move on it usually means the roster is not perfect. There's been people working hard over the past few months to try to get the right pieces to the puzzle," he said.