Stephen Kearney : biography
Stephen Peter Kearney, ONZM (born 11 June 1972 in Paraparaumu, New Zealand) is a professional rugby league football coach and former player. He is the current head coach of the New Zealand national rugby league team, assistant coach at the Brisbane Broncos, and was previously the head coach of the Parramatta Eels in the NRL, before he was sacked due to poor results. As a player he spent most of his career, which spanned from the early '90s to the mid-2000s and included an NRL premiership and a Challenge Cup win as well as time spent as the captain of the New Zealand team, in the second row position.
In 2012 Kearney was named as one of the New Zealand Rugby League's Legends of League. nzrl.co.nz, 30 October 2012 He was also named in the Wellington Rugby League's Team of the Century.
A Kapiti Bears junior, Kearney played for the Junior Kiwis between 1989 and 1991, becoming the side's captain for the 1991 series against Great Britain. He made his senior debut in 1991 for the Randwick Kingfishers and also played for Wellington that year. Randwick lost the Wellington Rugby League Grand Final 6-14 to the Wainuiomata Lions. Wellington Rugby League
Turning professional he moved to Australia to play for the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1992 in what is now the NSWRL Premiership. In 1993 he became the New Zealand Kiwis's youngest test captain, aged 21. He left the Magpies at the end of 1994, returning home to play for the Auckland Warriors in their inaugural season. At the end of that season he traveled to England to represent New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup. He missed the first test match against a re-unified Australian team in 1998 due to suspension.
Kearney remained a Warrior until 1998, when he moved to Australia to join the Melbourne Storm. In the Melbourne club's second ever season Kearney played at second-row forward in their victory in the 1999 NRL Grand Final.
In 2002 Kearney missed the series-deciding match against Great Britain as he had to rush back home to Melbourne to be with his sick five-year-old daughter, who needed emergency surgery. 22 November 2002 New Zealand City
While captaining the Storm in 2004, Kearney became the first New Zealand footballer to play 250 Australian first-grade matches.
Kearney finished his playing career with English club Hull in Europe's Super League competition, playing in their 2005 Challenge Cup-winning side.
In 2006 Kearney retired and returned to Australia to take up a role as assistant coach at his old club, the Melbourne Storm, under Craig Bellamy. In 2008 Kearney was appointed as the New Zealand Kiwis' head coach on a two-year contract.
Kearney (with assistant Wayne Bennett) coached the Kiwis to their first World Cup win on 22 November 2008, at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, defeating Australia 34–20. As a result he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday honours list.
In the 2010 post-season Kearney was announced as Daniel Anderson's replacement as head coach of the Parramatta Eels for three years beginning in 2011. Shortly after that, he took the Kiwis to victory in the 2010 Four Nations final against Australia.
In 2011 he failed to coach the Parramatta NRL team to any success, with the Eels achieving just 6 wins and 1 draw in 24 matches, and only just missing out on the wooden spoon in the last game of the season, at the expense of the Gold Coast Titans, who they beat in the final game of the season to avoid the wooden spoon.
Things didn't get any better for Kearney in the 2012 NRL season. With the Eels struggling in last place on the NRL ladder after 16 rounds, Melbourne Storm's inaugural coach, and two time premiership winning coach Chris Anderson was appointed as a mentor to Stephen Kearney to help him turn the club's fortunes around. However this did not eventuate as Kearney was eventually forced to resign only three rounds later on 20 July, after achieving only 3 wins from 19 matches in the season. He left the Eels with just 10 wins from 42 matches, for a modest winning percentage of 24 percent.
In October 2012 Kearney signed 2 years as Brisbane Broncos assistant coach from 2013.
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