Tackle Count: Which NRL coach is under the most pressure - vote here

OUT THE DOOR: Former New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney at a press conference following his side's loss to Canberra. Picture: Scott Davis/NRL Imagery
OUT THE DOOR: Former New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney at a press conference following his side's loss to Canberra. Picture: Scott Davis/NRL Imagery

Who would want to be a coach?

We have witnessed the first coaching casualty of the NRL season, with Stephen Kearney shown the exit door at the Warriors.

Kearney was axed following New Zealand's big loss to the Rabbitohs and a single key question remains: who would want to be a coach?

When teams win, the players often get the praise. But when they lose, the spotlight always falls onto the coach.

Everyone knows how much the Warriors have sacrificed to play in 2020, it's been well documented, but the side has won four games (including two of their last four) and have played some good footy.

As they prepare to face the Storm on Friday night, interim coach Todd Payton has described the scenes as "eerie" at the club's Terrigal accommodation.

"Stephen's very well respected and loved by the players," he said. "I don't know how they feel from an anger situation: it hit them pretty hard in the face... I know the playing group are rattled and are still processing at the moment."

Kearney's axing proves that no one is safe in the NRL: he was just six games into a renewed three-year contract. So will anyone else lose their coaching job in 2020?

Up to five coaches are under the pump to stay in charge at their respective clubs. Paul McGregor (Dragons), Dean Pay (Bulldogs), John Morris (Sharks) Anthony Seibold (Broncos) and Paul Green (Cowboys) desperately need wins to escape media scrutiny.

The pressure has somewhat eased on McGregor after his team secured successive wins over Cronulla and Gold Coast. However, Mary's men face a much bigger test on Friday night. Ahead of the clash, Dragons representative prop Paul Vaughan says he needs to stand up against the Roosters' strong forward pack.

"I'm not really all that vocal, I'd rather do my talking on the field, but if that's the position I have to take up I'm more than happy to do that. I'll just take it as it comes," Vaughan said.

A number of subplots will feature this week. Who will win the Queensland derby? Will the Knights' red-hot run continue in Townsville? And can the Sea Eagles win without star fullback Tom "Turbo" Trobjevic?

The round kicks off tonight with the Panthers looking to pip their rival Bunnies. Buckle up for another interesting start to the round.

* This edition of Tackle Count was written by Joshua Bartlett.

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