Generally, when coaches finish the NRL season, or when they end their coaching duties for the year, they rest, spend some time with the family, and come back eager to motivate and spur their players.

For Stephen Kearney however, this is not the case, as he is immediately at work with new club the Parramatta Eels, fresh off leading New Zealand to a win in the Four Nations final over Australia.

”I had contact with [head trainer] Hayden Knowles last night,” Kearney said. ”He actually came up [for the game]. Hayden, Brad Arthur, Peter Sharp and Matt Cameron have been doing a good job putting in place the programs we came up with, and so far it has been going really well.”

Kearney, who was waiting for the right opportunity to assume a head coaching position was the understudy to current Storm coach Craig Bellamy for sometime, and he plied his trade under Bellamy.

”I realise the enormity of the role, but I am looking forward to coaching the footy team given what I have got to work with,” he said. ”So far they have responded very well so I am looking forward to it.”

Last year, at key times, the Eels had some problems with their defence, and their attack, both of which he believes need improvement for 2011.

Last year wasn’t a good year for the Eels attack, after they recorded only 413 points, which was the second worst in the NRL in front of Cronulla.

”That is an area we need to work on but I want to get the other side right first so our focus … is going to be on our defence, and working through our structures so that everyone is on the same page,” Kearney said

Kearney’s credentials as a coach have skyrocketed in recent times having taken the New Zealand side to a win in both the World Cup and now the Four Nations.

On the Kiwi note, Kearney believes that he can deal with both jobs equally well, and doesn’t believe that one will interfere with the other.

”I don’t think it is a problem. I think I have got a lot of good people with me in terms of the staff, and they have a good understanding of what we are all working towards,” he said. ”I have only missed the first two weeks of pre-season training, and during the year it is not an issue. Juggling the time, it is probably the family time that is going to be more affected but we will work that out.”

By ricky

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