New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is set to sign a new deal that will see him remain at the club until the end of the 2022 season, as reported by The NZ Herald.
Kearney comes out of contract at the end of next season, but after months of negotiating it is hoped that both parties will agree to a new deal by Christmas.
“I’m in the middle of trying to work out what Stephen’s future looks like, and his manager and I are working through that.
“He brings to this club attributes you look for in not only a player, but a leader, and he demonstrates them every day.
“He’s got a high level of professionalism and integrity, he demands that in his staff and players, and he has a terrific group of people around him. Having Stephen here for the long-term can only be great for the club.”
Ahead of his third season in charge of the Warriors, Kearney remained confident of getting a new deal sorted soon.
“S***, yeah, definitely,” he said.
“Obviously I’ve invested a fair bit of energy into the club.
“It’s not something that I’m anxious about at the moment. We’ll see. I’m confident something will get sorted but I don’t know when that is going to be. I’ll leave that up to my agent.”
A new deal would see Kearney go past Ivan Cleary’s previous record in charge (2006-11) as the longest serving coach in the Warriors’ history.
New Zealand showed major strides last season, winning 15 games and finishing just two points behind minor premiers Sydney to make the finals for the first time since 2011.
“We’ve made some pretty quick advances but it’s about making sure we have that consistency,” said Kearney.
“We’re putting in a process here. When I first came to the club, my goal was to have kids playing our game in New Zealand wanting to play for the Warriors first.
“Brian and his team are helping put a programme in place that is going to encourage that, to build the culture here.”