NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Todd Payten furious at Blake Green over shock departure

Interim NZ Warriors coach Todd Payten is furious with playmaker Blake Green over his sudden departure from the NRL club.

On Tuesday, Green was released from the final year of his contract to join the Newcastle Knights for the remainder of the season. 

Last month, Green admitted he was 'irritated' after club owner Mark Robinson revealed the 33-year-old was surplus to requirements beyond this season. 

At the time, Warriors chief executive Cameron George said the club wouldn't stand in his way if he managed to secure a long-term deal at another club, but Green's deal in Newcastle is only until the end of the 2020 season. 

Payten said he was "disappointed" with the way things played out following the win over the Wests Tigers. 

"I was not happy, I was disappointed with the way it transpired," says Payten, who was visibly upset. 

"It happened quickly and he made it pretty clear he didn't want to be here, so we made a decision to let him go and sail in the direction we're going now.

"It was a bit of a surprise that he wanted to leave. He wasn't really vocal but he said he didn't want to be here, so that's what disappointed me the most.

Todd Payten.
Todd Payten. Photo credit: Photosport

"As we've learnt over the past eight to 10 weeks, things happen, they can happen quickly and we've got to get on with it.

"It's very hard to get them to play at their best if they're not completely happy."

Speaking in Newcastle colours for the first time, Green said he left the Warriors "with a heavy heart" but it was a "win-win" for both sides after being told he wasn't wanted after the season 

"I gave everything I had at the club for three years," says Green. "Me and my family loved our time in New Zealand." 

Payten had identified Green as one of the Warriors' few "true footballers" alongside Tohu Harris and Wayde Egan. 

With Green gone, youngster Chanel Harris-Tavia has been given the reigns at halback, and will start alongside Kodi Nikorima for Friday's match against the Manly Sea Eagles. 

NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Todd Payten furious at Blake Green over shock departure

Payten said Harris-Tavita and the Warriors' other playmakers will need to "step up" without Green leading the team.

"Blake was a security blanket with his talk and direction. And a lot of the times I reckon they sat back and let him take control and were happy to do so.

"The best thing with Chanel is he wants to learn. He's always working hard on his game and I've been really impressed with the way he goes about his training and the way he approaches his game.

"Stacey [Jones] has been doing a lot of work with him over the last six to 10 weeks and Chanel's the one pushing that along."

Victory over the Sea Eagles will see the Warriors win back-to-back games for the first time since September 2018.

Join us at 8pm Friday for live updates of the Warriors v Sea Eagles NRL clash