NRL: Broncos take a punt on Kearney

Stephen Kearney.Photo / Getty Images.
Stephen Kearney.Photo / Getty Images.

He was sacked as coach of NRL wooden spooners Parramatta in July and figured only briefly in considerations for coach of the Warriors - but the Broncos believe former Kiwi test forward Stephen Kearney is the right man to help steer Brisbane to a premiership in 2013.

In what is being hailed as a significant coup, the New Zealand coach will join the Broncos staff at the end of the month, replacing club legend Allan Langer, who has moved into the commercial side of operations.

Kearney, who has signed a two-year deal, will join Kristian Woolf as an assistant coach to Anthony Griffin at the Broncos, who finished eighth this season before being eliminated by the Cowboys in the first week of the finals.

In camp with the Kiwi side in Cairns yesterday, Kearney said he wanted to be a head coach again.

"I had five years with Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm and after that I thought I was ready for the chance to be a first grade coach," Kearney said.

"But I bit off more than I could chew with Parramatta. In saying that, I take a lot of positives out of the experience and it has steeled me for the next part of my journey.

"In some respects it is a case of getting back to basics, and trying to play a key role at a successful club. I had put my name forward for the head role at New Zealand Warriors, but decided the best thing for me and my family is to come to Brisbane."

Kearney played under Griffin at Melbourne Storm in 2002 when Griffin was an assistant to then Storm head coach Mark Murray. Griffin said yesterday it was important to appoint an experienced coach to replace Langer. "Stephen has won Four Nations and World Cup titles as coach of the Kiwis, and was involved with premiership wins at the Storm," Griffin said.

"The fact his experience has been gained outside the history and culture of this club means he brings a new point of view to our coaching department."

Griffin said he encouraged Kearney to continue as Kiwi coach just as he encouraged the players to aspire for representative honours.

- Sunday Mail

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