Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has ruled out making a return to the vacant Kiwis coaching job.

Off-contract coach David Kidwell faces an uphill battle to win reappointment after the New Zealand Rugby League announced on Monday they were changing the Kiwis coaching eligibility rule to open the position up to all comers, regardless of whether they are a New Zealander.

Kearney previously occupied the New Zealand coaching job for nine seasons – famously steering the Kiwis to their first and only World Cup victory in his first year at the helm in 2008.

The 45-year-old resigned from the role in late 2016 after he was announced as the new Warriors coach, clearing the way for Kidwell, his former assistant with the Kiwis, to take the reins.


Speaking ahead of the Warriors first pre-season trial against reigning premiers Melbourne in Rotorua on Saturday, Kearney shut the door firmly on any suggestion he could return to the helm of the national side while juggling his duties as an NRL coach.

"No, my time is precious now," said Kearney.

"This job is too consuming and the circumstances of the (Kiwis) job in terms of the living arrangements and being away so anytime off is family time."

The Warriors full squad completed a lengthy and intensive training session in humid conditions in Auckland today.

Kearney's 23-man squad will travel to Rotorua tomorrow and cap their preparations with a final run at Rotorua International Stadium on Friday.

To get the day's top sports stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here