NRL 2020: Craig Fitzgibbon NZ Warriors' first choice to replace Stephen Kearney - report

NZ Warriors chief executive Cameron George has denied reports that the club has shoulder-tapped Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon as its next head coach.

George has told Newshub the Warriors have yet to determine the "type of person" they want to replace Stephen Kearney, who was fired from the role earlier this month.

The CEO will sit down with former captain Simon Mannering and owner Mark Robinson to begin the recruitment process from next week.

Warriors owner Mark Robinson
Warriors owner Mark Robinson Photo credit: Photosport

The 43-year-old has been an assistant at the Sydney Roosters under Trent Robinson since 2012, and has been linked to other under pressure clubs - Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons.

"Fitzy's one of the best coaches in our game," says Robinson. "There's no question that he's going to get tossed up [for jobs].

Fitzgibbon's credentials have been lauded by many within the game, with the former back-row forward the man responsible for the Roosters premiership-winning defensive structure.

Warriors prop Lachlan Burr believes Fitzgibbon would be a great choice to move the club forward.

"Craig Fitzgibbon with his history, it sounds like he is good for the job," Burr says. "His record speaks for itself.

"If they're looking at him, it's probably a good move."

But Fitzgibbon appears committed to seeing out his contract with the Roosters, before transitioning into the role of head coach.

He has told the Sydney Morning Herald that he's willing to be patient.

"I'm ready to be a head coach," Fitzgibbon told the Herald. "I've done a lot of hard work to be ready, but I have an agreement with Nick [Politis] and Robbo and I'll honour that.' 

"It's a matter of integrity - those two are two of my closest friends. I shook hands, looked them in the eye and said, 'I'll be here this year and next year', and I'll be honouring that.

"I don't want to have that over me, where I just jumped at a better offer or opportunity.

"I've been at the Roosters nearly 20 years. It's not what I want to do.

"It's not lost on me I could miss some opportunities - and I'm flattered by the attention - but I'm not going back on my word.

"We're in a position to do well the next couple of years and I'm not walking away from that.''

Kearney was let go on June 21, after a crushing loss at the hands of the Penrith Panthers.

Stephen Kearney
Stephen Kearney Photo credit: Getty

Assistant Todd Payten took over on an interim basis and while he is tipped to be in the running for the head role, the likes of Geoff Toovey and Nathan Brown have also been linked to the role. 

Join Newshub for live updates of NZ Warriors v Brisbane Broncos from 7:30pm Saturday.

NRL 2020: Craig Fitzgibbon NZ Warriors' first choice to replace Stephen Kearney - report
Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz