He has his fans and he has his detractors but New Zealand Warriors fans will see Stephen Kearney in charge for a while, after he re-signed as club coach until 2022.
Kearney’s new role will see him remain as Warriors head coach for six years, equalling the previous longest tenure held by Ivan Cleary.
For the club, it was all about stability and keeping a core group of personnel together.
“Securing Stephen for another three years is a huge boost for us as we prepare to begin our 25th season in the competition,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“We haven’t enjoyed a lot of stability as an organisation, especially in the coaching area.
“Without stability in our football department it’s extremely challenging to improve and to achieve continuity.”
George offered a glowing endorsement of Kearney, his coaching style and what makes him the right coach for the club.
“It’s vital to have the right people in the right roles and in Stephen we have someone who absolutely fits what we need.
“He has all the characteristics you would want as both a coach and a person.
“We’ve been talking with Stephen for some time about ensuring he remains to continue the work that has been going on and we couldn’t be more pleased he’s staying on for another three years.
“He’s very professional, he has a very good relationship with his staff and players and has hands-on experience as a premiership-winning player, a Test player and a coach who has all the attributes need.”
Kearney has long been associated with the Warriors club both as a player in his early career and now as coach.
With his future sorted, Kearney is raring to go and knows that his side will need to be at their best if they are to achieve good results.
“When I first came back to the club, I was honoured to be given the opportunity to help the club move forward and improve,” he said.
“I’m pleased to have my future sorted out with this new contract and to know I’ll be with the club for a few more years.
“We made progress last season but, to be honest, the focus for me is always what’s next for us and that’s preparing for this week’s trial against Wests Tigers in Whangarei.”