The Warner brothers won’t be suiting up for the Tumut Blues next season after Tom Warner inked a deal on Monday to captain/coach the Nyngan Tigers in 2020.
The 24-year-old, who was integral to the Blues success in 2019, will take with him brothers Ben and Joe Warner, as the trio look to help the Tigers to a maiden Group 11 premiership.
The move, which will be a surprise to many Blues and Group 9 rugby league pundits, was based predominantly on the work opportunities for his family.
“The Nyngan Tigers are getting Benny, Joey and myself work in the mines and because Joey only works part time and Benny’s contract finishes up in February, I had to jump at the opportunity,” he said.
“The club has connections with a new gold mine being opened and with all the experience and tickets we will get from that work experience, it could potentially set us up for life.”
The decision to sign with Nyngan didn’t come easily to Warner, who struggled with the idea of leaving Tumut and the very close-knit playing group.
“I had some really tough phone calls to make to the guys on Sunday and Monday,” he said.
“Our group is so close and it was tough to make this decision but they all wished me well and said the door will always be open for a return.”
The Riverina Bulls representative will now be faced with the challenge of taking the Tigers to the pinnacle of Group 11.
Nyngan were most recently knocked out in the preliminary finals after a 38-30 loss to the Wellington Cowboys; the Cowboys eventually going on to defeat the Dubbo CYMS in the decider.
Nyngan have never won a Group 11 title and Warner is licking his lips at the challenge of leading the club to premiership glory.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m confident we can make a big difference for the club,” he said.
“There will definitely be big expectations next season.”
Blues president Bryan Black was disappointed to see the Warner brothers move on but wished them luck in their endeavours.
“I am sad to see them go as they were great during the season and fitted in well with all the boys but I am also very happy for Tom to get this position and I hope he makes the most out of it,” he said.
The Blues will now have some very big holes to fill in their line up with just over two months left until the the start of pre-season training.