David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Stephen Kearney to replace Andrew McFadden as Warriors coach - reports

Stephen Kearney. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz
Stephen Kearney. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney is reportedly set to replace Andrew McFadden as coach of the Warriors.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph claim McFadden could be sacked as early as tomorrow following the Warriors disappointing season that saw them miss the playoffs for a third-straight year under his direction.

McFadden could not be reached for comment tonight and the Herald has asked both the Warriors and New Zealand Rugby League to clarify the situation and is awaiting reply.

McFadden took over from former coach Matthew Elliott after five rounds in the 2014 season but has been unable to break their finals drought which is now into its fifth year.

The report says McFadden - who still has a year remaining on his contract - could remain at the Warriors in a different role.

Daily Telegraph reporter Michael Carayannis told Radio Sport's Mark Watson that Kearney is expected to resign from his Kiwis coaching position tomorrow and take over at the Warriors next month.

"I've spoken to people in and around the camp so it's pretty accurate," said Carayannis.
"Everything is going to happen tomorrow.

"I'm assuming there's going to be an official announcement by the Warriors tomorrow that Stephen Kearney's their new head coach going forward."

McFadden was always in danger of being axed unless the side made the NRL top eight this season but Carayannis believes his fate was sealed with the side losing their last four games - including three home matches - to dramatically slide out of finals contention.

"The way the Warriors sort of limped out towards the end of the season just probably mad their mind up that they needed to head in a new direction," he said.

Kearney's potential appointment would leave the Kiwis searching for a new mentor ahead of the upcoming transtasman test against Australia in Perth on October 15 and their ensuing Four Nations title defence in the UK through November.

Speaking to media about selections in the Kiwis initial train-on squad last Wednesday, Kearney adopted a 'neither-confirm-nor-deny' approach, when asked if he was interested in taking over from McFadden.

"I'm not going to go [there]," said Kearney.

"I'm here to talk about the Kiwis and I'm not going to make a comment on the Warriors."

Taking the helm at the Warriors would represent a homecoming for the 44-year-old who played 79 first grade games for the Auckland-based outfit between 1995 and 1998, in between playing stints with both the Western Suburbs Magpies and Melbourne Storm.

Since taking on the Kiwis coaching role in 2008, Kearney has enjoyed a successful run that has earned New Zealand the number one world ranking, including the 2008 World Cup triumph, 2010 and 2014 Four Nations wins, and victory over the Kangaroos in the 2015 transtasman test.

The former Parramatta coach has been linked with the Warriors before - especially in 2012 when he was sounded out in the wake of Brian McClennan's departure.

However, a contrasting report from Rugby League Week today said Kearney was not interested in the Warriors role and content to bide his time as assistant to Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett in a post he has occupied since 2013.

Rugby League Week suggested Bennett - who assisted Kearney throughout New Zealand's 2008 World Cup campaign - had even given his endorsement to the former Parramatta coach eventually succeeding him at the Broncos once he retires in the next couple of years.

The story continues a dramatic day of news reports involving the Warriors, who this afternoon denied that Kieran Foran was set to sign a deal in the next 24 hours.

It appears more a matter of when, not if, the troubled playmaker will put pen to paper with the Warriors but managing director Jim Doyle chose his words carefully as the club continue to work through negotiations with the 26-year-old playmaker.

"We haven't lodged a contract with the NRL at this point in time; we've not got any contract with Kieran at this point in time," said Doyle.

The NRL will need to approve Foran's playing return and the game's integrity unit want him to answer some questions in due course regarding allegations linking him with match fixing.

But Doyle - who was instrumental in the formation of the NRL's integrity - is highly regarded among the game's leaders and remains well positioned to convince them to green light Foran's comeback.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 22 Oct 2016 17:30:25 Processing Time: 1302ms