Kemp hopes to still hold Warriors

Warriors coach Tony Kemp, whose position at the New Zealand Warriors is under review, said he hoped to be back at the helm of the National Rugby League club next season.

The Warriors are away to Manly tonight for their last match of the season, having missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.

They announced on Wednesday that chief executive Mick Watson was leaving his job, a decision that Kemp said came as "a bit of a surprise" to many at the club.

But Kemp, who took over as coach after the sudden departure of Daniel Anderson in the middle of last season, wasn't looking to follow suit.

Instead, he wanted to see out his contract, which had a year to run.

"This review process has to take place and we will see the outcome of that," he said.

"I'm still looking forward to working with the team next year."

Of Watson, Kemp said he was the person who gave him the chance to be Anderson's assistant in late 2000 and who also handed him the reins when Anderson left.

"I'll remember that and also the good times he brought to the club," Kemp said.

"We went to the finals in the first three years and we also went the grand final."

After the emotion surrounding club icon Stacey Jones' last home game for the Warriors last weekend, Kemp admitted that it had been a challenge to lift his players for one last effort against Manly.

"The pressure of the week-in week-out has totally gone from the club now," he said.

"We know this is definitely our last week of footy, so it has been a challenging time this week to get them up."

But after having failed to give Jones a winning farewell to Ericsson Stadium last Saturday, the Warriors wanted to send him - and other departing players - out on the right note at Brookvale Oval.

Also leaving are winger Francis Meli and prop Iafeta Paleaaesina, who have both been named in a six-man bench.

Paleaaesina, who is bound for Wigan, is set to be given game time against the Sea Eagles.

But Meli, who is heading to St Helens, could end up watching from the stands in his last away trip with the Warriors.

Kemp's position as coach has come under the spotlight during a season that began with great optimism but has petered out to another early exit.

The Warriors are sitting second bottom on the table, the same position in which they finished the minor premiership last year.

Kemp repeated his belief that the Warriors had improved over the past 12 months and were heading in the right direction.

"I think there have been a lot of improvements within the whole organisation," he said.

"We're not in the spot everyone wants us to be. Everyone had high expectations of making the eight.

"You have to remember the competition this year is the best that it has been and our improvements have reflected that.

"No matter what happens in the future, I think this club is in good hands."