No hard feelings as Fien cut at Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No hard feelings as Fien cut at Warriors

By Chris Barclay 20/05/2009 10:57:56 AM Comments (0)

Nathan Fien has reacted magnanimously to being axed from the New Zealand Warriors starting 13 and being told he does not figure in the NRL club's plans for 2010.

The second saga involving the Australian-born New Zealand World Cup-winning halfback ended on Tuesday when management confirmed the 29-year-old's fifth year at the club would be his last.

Fien, whose initial ineligibility for the Kiwis dominated the headlines in 2006, has been in a state of flux at the Warriors for more than 12 months.

He was originally told to sound out NRL or English Super League clubs last year when it became apparent Stacey Jones - the league icon he replaced at Warriors and then international level - was contemplating a comeback.

Fien opted to play out the final year of his contract, hoping a good showing at the World Cup would enhance his prospects of staying in Auckland.

But Jones' return from retirement and the acquisition of five-eighth Joel Moon - who replaces Fien for the 11th-round match against Canberra on Sunday - has finally seen the former North Queensland representative deemed surplus to requirements.

He will join fellow Australian halves Michael Witt and Grant Rovelli as recent departures as the Warriors rely on Jones to guide them this season.

The ageing Jones is no certainty to carry on in 2010 and juniors Isaac John, Shaun Johnson and Aaron Heremaia are being groomed as his potential successors.

Given speculation about Fien's future has been constant, the announcement by Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah did not catch the 105-game utility off guard.

"I was holding out to secure something over here but we have to move on," Fien said.

Fien said his departure was a reality of professional sport.

"It's always a bit harder when you don't really want to go but there's no hard feelings" said Fien, who hoped to quickly finalise terms with another NRL club.

Fien had a clear preference for halfback but started only two games for the Warriors in the No 7 jersey this year, in a pre-season trial against the Gold Coast and the season opener with Parramatta.

Moon started the season at five-eighth but Brent Tate's season-ending knee injury saw the former Bronco slot in at centre.

However, the failure of the Jones-Fien combination to impose any authority during last weekend's dismal 12-34 home loss to North Queensland forced head coach Ivan Cleary to alter his attacking axis.

"Stacey and I both play similar roles, we're both halfbacks and if it's not working, it's not working," Fien told Radio Sport.

"It's Ivan's call to make and if that's what it takes to make this side successful, I'm prepared to take this backward step."

Cleary admitted it was never easy to cut a player but felt the team needed better guidance in both the short, and long term.

"I feel our direction is ... there's probably not enough clarity there," Cleary said.

The onus will now be on Jones, who has yet to recapture his best form, to lift his game.

"What it (dropping Fien) does do is allow Stacey to play his natural game and direct traffic and lead the team around," Cleary said.

"That's what he's done for years. His form's improving and he's ready for it."

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