He may have been sacked by the Eels after a string of poor results, but despite that, the Brisbane Broncos are confident that the former Eel coach and current Kiwi coach, is the right man to guide them towards glory in 2013 – signing him on as an Assistant coach for next season.
Kearney, who will replace club legend as Assistant coach, will join Kristian Woolf as the understudies to current Broncos coach Anthony Griffin – though Kearney does still have ambitions to be a first-grade coach again.
“I had five years with Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm and after that I thought I was ready for the chance to be a first-grade coach,” Kearney said.
“But I bit off more than I could chew with Parramatta. In saying that, I take a lot of positives out of the experience and it has steeled me for the next part of my journey.
“In some respects it is a case of getting back to basics, and trying to play a key role at a successful club.”
With the departure of Langer, the man they call Hook [Anthony Griffin], said that it was important to get an Assistant coach who is experienced.
“Stephen has won Four Nations and World Cup titles as coach of the Kiwis, and was involved with premiership victories at the Storm,” Griffin said. “The fact his experience has been gained outside the history and culture of this club, means he brings a new point of view to our coaching department.
“Things didn’t work out in his two years at Parramatta, but that’s the way it goes in coaching sometimes. In his first six months at the Eels he made a lot of positive changes, particularly with the side’s defence.
“Steve has a terrific work ethic and is passionate about coaching. It’s still very early in his career and he has a hunger for success.”
Knowing they did not meet their standards last year, Griffin says that it will not be a quick fix, but they hope to at least challenge in 2013.
“We stumbled at the final hurdle and that’s the main reason we feel disappointment,” he said. “We know we can do better.
“So the standards we didn’t deliver on we will work on from November 5 (when training resumes) and we will get on with the journey of achieving what we want to achieve.
“It won’t be easy and … it won’t come quickly. But it will come.”