Changing of the guard at the Warriors as Kearney returns to coach

Stephen Kearney

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.

“We’re delighted we’ve been able to bring Stephen back to Mount Smart Stadium,” said the Warriors Managing Director, Jim Doyle.

“He was outstanding during his playing career with the club and then with the Melbourne Storm before moving into coaching.

“Stephen 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.

“During 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.

“Our review identified changes needed to be made and in Stephen, we have a coach who has a reputation for demanding the highest standards.”

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.

“While I’ve got a job to do here, I’m really excited about coming on board at the Vodafone Warriors,” Kearney said.

“The 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.

“I’ve been speaking to Cappy about his role and I’m thrilled he’s staying on. He has so much to offer with his knowledge about the club and I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“It’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.”

Club owner Eric Watson echoed Doyle’s sentiments and has backed Kearney as coach of the club.

“I’m thrilled the Vodafone Warriors have secured a coach of Stephen’s calibre as well as building a coaching team of the type and quality we’ve never seen before,” he said.

“Stephen brings so much experience to the club and has the added advantage of knowing so many of the country’s best players through his long association with the Kiwis.”

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