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Kearney secured until end of 2022

Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney has signed a contract extension keeping him at Mount Smart Stadium 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 club’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,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.

Without stability in our football department it’s extremely challenging to improve and to achieve continuity

Cameron George Vodafone Warriors CEO

“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.

“We’ve been talking with Stephen for some time about ensuring he remains to continue the work that has been going on and we couldn’t be more pleased he’s staying on for another three years.

“He’s very professional, he has a very good relationship with his staff and players and has hands-on experience as a premiership-winning player, a Test player and a coach who has all the attributes needed.

“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,” he said.

“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.

To be honest, the focus for me is always what’s next

Stephen Kearney Vodafone Warriors head coach

“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. His 100th match is set for the NRL’s historic Magic Round in Brisbane when the Vodafone Warriors meet St George Illawarra in their “home” match on Saturday, May 11.

After finishing his playing career in 2005, Kearney moved straight into coaching starting with five seasons as an assistant coach with Melbourne as well as launching a nine-year term as Kiwi coach in 2008. During that time, he guided the Kiwis to three major titles – the World Cup in 2008 and the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014.



Born: June 11, 1972

Birthplace: Paraparaumu, NZ

Coaching Career:

Vodafone Warriors head coach 2017-2019

New Zealand Kiwis head coach 2008-2016

Brisbane Broncos assistant coach 2013-2016

Parramatta Eels head coach 2011-2012

Melbourne Storm assistant coach 2006-2010

Playing Career:

International: 45 Tests for Kiwis 1993-2004


   264 first-grade appearances 1992-2004

   Western Suburbs: 46 appearances 1992-1994

   Auckland Warriors: 79 appearances 1995-1998

   Melbourne Storm: 139 appearances 1999-2004

Super League:

   46 appearances for Hull FC 2005

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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