Warriors managing director Jim Doyle has confirmed long-serving Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney is returning to the club as its new head coach on a three-year deal.
The appointment headlines a major revamp of the club’s NRL coaching staff which sees current head coach Andrew McFadden remain as one of Kearney’s assistants, Vodafone Warriors legend Stacey Jones promoted to add further depth in a new role and another experienced international coach set to be signed to join the coaching team.
Kearney (44) will finish his assistant coach’s job with the Brisbane Broncos when their 2016 campaign ends to rejoin the club he made 79 appearances for as a foundation player from 1995-1998.
McFadden has had 67 matches in charge since 2014 while Jones will step up from his current role as Intrust Super Premiership coach to provide additional support to the NRL squad in specific specialised areas.
Current assistant coaches Andrew Webster and Justin Morgan are finishing up with the Vodafone Warriors.
“We’re delighted we’ve been able to bring Stephen back to Mount Smart Stadium,” he said.
“He was outstanding during his playing career with the club and then with the Melbourne Storm before moving into coaching.
“Stephen has taken the Kiwis to a new level with their successes in the Rugby League World Cup in 2008 and twice in the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014.
“During his coaching career, he has also worked alongside two of the best coaches the game has seen in Craig Bellamy at the Storm and Wayne Bennett at the Broncos.
“Our review identified changes needed to be made and, in Stephen, we have a coach who has a reputation for demanding the highest standards.”