‘Kearney wasn’t ready for Eels job’

By Greg Prichard
December 29, 2016

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle says the difference between coach Stephen Kearney now compared to when he was previously in charge of an NRL club at Parramatta is that he is “ready”.

“Stephen has come from being first and foremost with Craig Bellamy at Melbourne, then taking on a head coach’s job at Parramatta, when he himself, with the experience he has had since then, realised it was a bit too early for him,” Doyle says.

“Similar to what we had with ‘Cappy’ (Andrew McFadden) here, a bit too early, and then Stephen learning more with Wayne Bennett (at Brisbane), he’s really ready.”

Kearney coached the Eels in the 2011 season and for most of 2012, before he was sacked. The team won just 10 of 42 games under him.

He coached the New Zealand national team as well, from 2008 until the recent Four Nations tournament, before starting at the Warriors in place of McFadden, who is now one of his assistants.

Doyle says it is about giving the head coach the proper support as the Warriors try to find their way back to finals football in 2017.

“Rather than thinking it’s all about the head coach, we’ve thought more about the coaching staff and creating a really strong coaching staff and with Cappy there we’ve got continuity and we’ve brought in Steve McNamara, an international coach who has been with the Roosters.

“These things are really important and you can see in the pre-season, with the coaching group working together, things are stepping up.”