Warriors confirm Phil Gould as consultant, Nathan Brown head coach

Prominent rugby league commentator Phil Gould will join the struggling Warriors as a “club-wide consultant”, while Nathan Brown will take over as head coach through the 2023 season.

Gould served as a coaching director at the Sydney Roosters during their successful period in the early 2000s and held a similar ‘general manager’ role with the Penrith Panthers until last year.

During his time in Penrith, he was criticised for hiring Ivan Cleary as coach shortly after his arrival in 2011, replacing him with ex-Broncos mentor Anthony Griffin in 2016, only to rehire Cleary to coach his son, Nathan, in 2019.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George said Gould would advise the team as it tries to “build [its] trans-Tasman commercial and general profile”.

“This appointment is exceptionally significant and critical to the future of our business as a whole and equally to the game in general both in New Zealand and in Australia,” George said.

“He has an extensive and successful coaching history and is highly sought after in the media through his roles with Channel 9 and other organisations. He also achieved so much in rebuilding the Penrith Panthers to where they are right now.

“He’ll play a huge role in helping to take us to a new level as a club.”

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown speaking at a press conference.

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown speaking at a press conference.

Brown last coached at the Newcastle Knights.(ABC News: Col Kerr)

Gould described the role and getting the Warriors back into the top half of the league as “an exciting challenge”.

“A strong Warriors club is a great asset to the NRL, not to mention its importance to the continued development of international rugby league, which I know is a priority for Peter V’landys and the ARL Commission,” Gould said.

The Warriors sacked coach Stephen Kearney shortly after the Warriors flew across the Tasman and set up camp on the NSW Central Coast to play out the NRL season after the coronavirus shutdown.

Former Tigers star Todd Payten took over as interim head coach but did not want the job full-time, prompting a wider search.

The Warriors landed on former Dragons and Knights coach Brown, who left Newcastle in the middle of last season.

“I’m a career coach. I just love coaching and this job with the Warriors is a fantastic opportunity,” he said.

“I spent time in Auckland during the preseason and was really impressed with the whole set-up, the players and the staff throughout the organisation.

“The Warriors are hugely important to the competition. We’ve seen that this year with the sacrifices they’ve made to keep the NRL going. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”