Regional | Mt Smart

Kearney in for the long haul

Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney has signed a contract extension keeping him with the club until the end of the 2022 NRL season.

The deal will see the 46-year-old Kearney remain in the role for six seasons, joining Ivan Cleary (2006-2011) as the longest-serving head coach in the team's history.

“Securing Stephen for another three years is a huge boost for us as we prepare to begin our 25th season in the competition,” says Warriors CEO Cameron George.

Coach Kearney locked-in 💙❤️💚 READ #WeAreWarriors

Posted by One NZ Warriors on Monday, February 25, 2019

“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.

“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.

“Stephen is a big part of our future.”

After four seasons as an Auckland Warriors player from 1995-1998, Kearney is now on track to take his connection with the club to a total of 10 seasons with his new contract.

"When I first came back to the club, I was honoured to be given the opportunity to help the club move forward and improve," says Kearney.

“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.”

The Vodafone Warriors’ season-opening match against the Bulldogs on March 16 will be Kearney’s 50th as the club’s head coach and his 92nd overall.