The Brisbane Broncos could have their coaching ranks bolstered in 2023 by the addition of high-profile assistant coach Stephen Kearney.
Kearney has a long history in coaching, and while he was never able to excel as an NRL head coach, he is a highly rated second in command.
It's a role he has served at the Melbourne Storm since finishing up with the New Zealand Warriors in his second stint as a head coach during 2020, but News Corp are reporting that he will now return to Queensland to be with family.
It's understood he will finish at the Storm by the end of November, and that the Brisbane Broncos will then swoop on the former New Zealand Kiwis mentor.
Kearney coached the Kiwis between 2008 and 2016, guiding them to a famous World Cup victory, while his stints in charge of the Parramatta Eels and Warriors in the NRL brought less success.
Kearney's two years in Melbourne have seen him work as part of Craig Bellamy's highly successful staff in the Victorian capital, and he would undoubtedly bring plenty to the Broncos.
Kearney is a former assistant at the Broncos, working alongside Kevin Walters under master coach Wayne Bennett in 2015, and it's reported by the publication that Walters has recently completed a review of the 2022 season after the club made a dramatic fadeout from the top four to missing the top eight.
That has left Walters under substantial pressure, and another season without finals could see him exit the club.
Changes to the coaching staff have already started, with Matt Ballin promoted to an assistant role following the departure of Terry Matterson, and it's understood there is now one spot left with a desire to hand that to Kearney.
The 50-year-old, in addition to coaching 121 NRL games, played 288 top-flight games in Australia and England during his playing career, while he also represented New Zealand 45 times.