As the 2023 NRL season draws to a conclusion, the Warriors are preparing to initiate contract extension talks with Andrew Webster, the widely acknowledged Dally M Coach of the Year favourite. Despite only being in the initial year of a three-year pact, Webster has shown remarkable prowess leading the Warriors and is on track to secure a top-four finish in the regular season.
Webster’s appointment as coach brought about minimal media hype, with the move of fellow Panthers assistant, Cameron Ciraldo, to the Bulldogs dominating the headlines. Nevertheless, Webster’s success at the Warriors has defied pre-season predictions and his coaching reputation has soared.
George proclaimed, “We’re all on the same page. We know what we’re doing and we know where we’re going. The focus is doing the best we can for this year. We’re not stressing about it and we’ll address it at the end of the season, for sure. He’s well and truly part of our future and we’ll deal with that when we need to.”
Webster, who has previously expressed his aspirations to coach the Warriors “forever” and create a long-term legacy like Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson and Ivan Cleary, has successfully established the squad as title contenders in the aftermath of the COVID-19 impact.
Through his capable coaching, players like Shaun Johnson, Wayde Egan, Dylan Walker and Addin Fonua-Blake have exhibited career-best forms. Meanwhile, new sign-ups such as Jackson Ford and Luke Metcalf have thrived under his leadership.
Webster’s situation mirrors that of Craig Fitzgibbon who was signed to an extended contract with the Sharks after his successful debut as an NRL coach, culminating in a second-place finish for Cronulla in the 2022 regular season. This added three years to his tenure, cementing his association with the Sharks until 2027.
Webster is expected to be on the brink of a similar contract extension.
Earlier this year, when questioned about his decision to accept the Warriors position after previously serving as an assistant, Webster shared, “I think if you look at most rookie coaches who get their first start, a few of them have either worked at the club or played at the club. I feel like that’s the best fit sometimes. The situation is not daunting because you know the club’s DNA and what you can change from a different perspective. I felt like it was a comfortable fit. Going back to New Zealand was going to bring a lot of stability, and it ticked a lot of boxes.”