8 Dec 2011 - Source: www.stuff.co.nz - Ben Stanley
On a day when the Warriors showed off former rugby league superstar Andrew Johns as their halves coach for the off-season, attention has fallen on director of football John Hart, who called time on his seven-year tenure at the club yesterday.
Hart, who joined the Warriors as the executive director of football in 2005, announced he would be leaving the Warriors to focus on his role as the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am organising committee chairman for next year's tournament at The Hills golf course in Queenstown.
Hart felt he had achieved his objectives with the NRL club and was satisfied with their position, making this an ideal time to cut his ties.
While Fairfax was unable to contact Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah to determine the exact nature of Hart's departure, new head coach Brian McClennan spoke positively of Hart's involvement.
McClennan said Hart's final months at the club were spent largely as a mentor for former coach Ivan Cleary; a role that the former All Black coach was no longer needed in now McClennan was at the Warriors.
''In the end John was a very good aid for Ivan Cleary, as a mentor,'' McClennan said. ''[He] was terrific for Ivan in that capacity.''
McClennan would instead lean on his father Mike McClennan, who dominated Auckland club rugby in the 1980s as the coach of Mt. Albert before coaching St. Helens in England for three years, for support, he said.
''I've got my old man who could coach a bit,'' he said. ''He coached really well and he lives two doors down from me so I'm up there having cups of tea all the time.''
''For my own personal development, I'm lucky I've got the old boy who I can use as my mentor.''
''Right across the board everyone's very grateful for what John's done for the club,'' McCLennan added.
''He's done an absolutely great job here and it's important for us to carry that on and I'm sure that's what John would like.''
Meanwhile at Mt Smart Stadium, Johns, who was attending the first of two multi-day coaching sessions for the Warriors' first-grade team this summer, spoke highly of the club's potential for growth.
''The place here has just got so much potential,'' he said. ''There's so much skill there, the guys are so athletic. Things are looking good for the Warriors.''
The former Knights, New South Wales and Kangaroos halfback praised the Warriors Under-20s set-up, and labelled standoff Carlos Tuimavave as the next young star to shine for the club.
''I really enjoy watching the Under-20s competition, in particular the Warriors boys,'' he said.
'I love the way they play their 20s. I think Carlos has a big future. [He] needs a bit of time, he's still pretty young.''
- Fairfax Media