The Warriors are close to a new deal with coach Stephen Kearney, which could see him become one of the longest serving coaches in the club's history.

Kearney is about to start the third year of his current contract, but has a new offer on the table that would keep him in Auckland until the end of the 2022 season.

If that came to pass, he would equal Ivan Cleary's six seasons in charge (2006-2011), and any further campaigns beyond that would take the former Kiwi captain into his own stratosphere.

Negotiations have been ongoing since midway through last season, but are almost completed.


"We haven't needed to rush it," said Warriors CEO Cameron George. "But Stephen is part of our future — he has got to be. This club has suffered due to instability. I'm conscious of making sure that if we have good people in the right roles, we need to keep them."

"I will say it anywhere, anytime that Stephen is the right person to lead this club forward. So we want to secure his services for the future, because it's all part of the moving picture. If we have our coaching structures and pathways right, and Stephen is the head honcho over that, you are going to have better results."

"But if you are chopping and changing up top, a new guy might say it is not the roster I want, and it will take two years to rejig it."

George also indicated that Kearney was going to be given some latitude, such was the faith in the 46-year-old.

"We will never depart from our responsibility about getting the best results we can, and those calls will be made at the appropriate time, whenever it is required," said George. "We will never walk away from that."

"But if I strongly believe we have the right person in that role, I'm really hot in making sure we try and retain them. If we can hold together, over the next funding cycle (to 2022), the current football and coaching group that would be outstanding."

Kearney wasn't a universally popular choice when he arrived at Mt Smart in October 2016, with many pundits wary of his lack of NRL experience and poor record at Parramatta.

His first season did little to silence those sceptics, as the team was anchored near the foot of the NRL ladder while Kearney tried to implement change behind the scenes. But last year's big turnaround, with 15 wins and a long awaited finals appearance, shifted his reputation and standing.

"We are pretty close," said Kearney, of the new contract. "But I just want to focus on trying to do my job, I don't really look that far ahead. I'm just determined to do what is important, and that's the present."

Kearney has always emphasised that his project was a long term fix, but didn't want to put a number on it.

"I'm here to do whatever it takes but I don't know what that timeframe is," said Kearney. "I'm here to try and improve the club, improve the team and improve individuals. How long that takes, I don't know."

"The board and other people might not be patient enough for that to happen. But that's my mentality. I'm here to try and improve the club, the team, the culture, the players...all the time."