It might be the end of the Andrew McFadden led era at the New Zealand Warriors, but the former coach will remain in the system in a reshuffle for the New Zealand Warriors.
Foundation player Stephen Kearney and current New Zealand Kiwis coach has been appointed as the new head coach of the Warriors on a 3-year deal.
McFadden will revert back to an assistant role, with club legend Stacey Jones also to enjoy an increased role in the new system.
Since his time as a coach, Kearney had an unsuccessful spell with the Parramatta Eels but has enjoyed success and form as the head coach of the Kiwis and as an assistant at the BrisbaneBroncos.
â€œWeâ€™re delighted weâ€™ve been able to bring Stephen back to Mount Smart Stadium,â€ said the Warriors Managing Director, Jim Doyle.
â€œHe was outstanding during his playing career with the club and then with the Melbourne Storm before moving into coaching.
â€œStephen has taken the Kiwis to a new level with their successes in the Rugby League World Cup in 2008 and twice in the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014.
Knowing that a review was necessary, Doyle believes that Kearney can lead the club forward.
â€œDuring his coaching career, he has also worked alongside two of the best coaches the game has seen in Craig Bellamy at the Storm and Wayne Bennett at the Broncos.
â€œOur review identified changes needed to be made and in Stephen, we have a coach who has a reputation for demanding the highest standards.â€
As he helps to prepare the Broncos for their finals clash this week, Kearney is excited at a return to his home country and a team close to his heart.
â€œWhile Iâ€™ve got a job to do here, Iâ€™m really excited about coming on board at the Vodafone Warriors,â€ Kearney said.
â€œThe club means a lot to me from my time there as a player and this a great opportunity to take the football department in a new direction.
â€œIâ€™ve been speaking to Cappy about his role and Iâ€™m thrilled heâ€™s staying on. He has so much to offer with his knowledge about the club and Iâ€™m really looking forward to working with him.
â€œItâ€™ll also be great to have Stacey involved to a greater degree with the NRL squad so we can really maximise the expertise he provides.â€
Club owner Eric Watson echoed Doyle’s sentiments and has backed Kearney as coach of the club.
â€œIâ€™m thrilled the Vodafone Warriors have secured a coach of Stephenâ€™s calibre as well as building a coaching team of the type and quality weâ€™ve never seen before,â€ he said.
â€œStephen brings so much experience to the club and has the added advantage of knowing so many of the countryâ€™s best players through his long association with the Kiwis.â€