AAP Rugby

Payten has toughened up Warriors: RTS

By AAP Newswire

Todd Payten's leadership of the Warriors has been hailed by skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, leaving open the possibility their caretaker coach could be handed the NRL job fulltime.

Tuivasa-Sheck didn't want to comment on who should be the Kiwi club's permanent coach to replace Stephen Kearney, but he did talk up the tough mental attitude instilled in the space of two weeks by Payten.

That assessment came following a News Corp report that Warriors management have included Payten on a five-man shortlist for head coach interviews.

The other names listed are veteran Souths mentor Wayne Bennett, England coach Shaun Wane, Melbourne assistant Jason Ryles and former St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown.

Of that group, only Bennett has commented publicly about the job, saying he wouldn't be prepared to move to Auckland.

Tuivasa-Sheck said the coaching speculation wasn't a distraction for the players ahead of Friday's match against the Gold Coast Titans in Robina.

His only assessment was that Payten's tough approach after their heavy losses to South Sydney and Melbourne had shone through in last week's 26-16 win over Brisbane.

The former Wests Tigers forward had told his players to stop feeling sorry for themselves regarding their relocated circumstances in Australia and even warned some players they were on the verge of being dropped.

"The way that Toddy just put it how it is, he just made it real," Tuivasa-Sheck said on Thursday.

"He said 'it's happened' and it's done. Let's just face reality and go forward from here. Just face it boys and be tough about it'.

"I think that's what I'm seeing, a lot more acceptance about that."

Tuivasa-Sheck believes it is within his team to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than a year if they can reproduce the resilience of last week.

Outside backs Ken Maumalo and Peta Hiku made some glaring errors as they trailed the Broncos 10-0 before starring in the fightback.

"Just the way that they held together, Peta at the end had a great game and Kenny came up with the goods."

The club were also buoyed by the re-signing of rookie prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown to 2022, a week after former Canberra second-rower Jack Murchie extended his stay for the same term.