Stephen Kearney

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For the United States Army officer, see Stephen W. Kearny.
Stephen Kearney
Stephen Kearney 2.jpg
Kearney in 2008
Personal information
Full name Stephen Peter Kearney
Nickname Mooks
Born (1972-06-11) 11 June 1972 (age 42)
Paraparaumu, Wellington, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 103 kg (16 st 3 lb)
Position Second-row
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1992–1994 Western Suburbs 46 6 0 0 24
1995–1998 Auckland Warriors 79 11 0 0 44
1999–2004 Melbourne Storm 139 20 0 0 80
2005 Hull F.C. 24 5 0 0 20
Total 288 42 0 0 168
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1991 Wellington 7 0 0 0 0
1993–2004 New Zealand 43 9 0 0 36
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2011–2012 Parramatta Eels 42 10 1 31 24
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2008– New Zealand 36 20 1 15 56
Source: RLP

Stephen Peter Kearney, ONZM (born 11 June 1972) is a professional rugby league football coach and former player. He was the former head coach of the New Zealand national rugby league team and is the current 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.

Playing career[edit]

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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] Kearney was selected for the New Zealand team to compete in the end of season 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at second-row forward in the Kiwis' 22-20 loss.

Having won the 1999 Premiership, the Melbourne Storm traveled to England to contest the 2000 World Club Challenge against Super League Champions St Helens RLFC, with Kearney playing at second-row forward in the victory. 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.[5] While captaining the Storm in 2004, Kearney became the first New Zealand footballer to play 250 Australian first-grade matches.[6] He also played his last test match for the Kiwis in 2004, in a game that marked the debut of Sonny Bill Williams.[7] Kearney finished his playing career with English club Hull in Europe's Super League competition, playing in their 2005 Challenge Cup-winning side.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

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.[8]

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.[9] As a result he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday honours list.[10] For the 2010 Anzac Test, Kearney coachd New Zealand in their loss against Australia. 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 when they beat the Gold Coast Titans in the last game of the regular season.

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.


In 2012 Kearney was named as one of the New Zealand Rugby League's Legends of League.[13] He was also named in the Wellington Rugby League's Team of the Century.


  1. ^ a b Team of Century Week 8 Wellington Rugby League
  2. ^ Hadfield, Dave (3 November 1993). "Rugby League: Kiwis drop Freeman". The Independent (London). 
  3. ^ Sterling, Peter (23 April 1998). "Out of this world". Newcastle Herald (Fairfax Digital). p. 3. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Cockerill, Ian (3 October 1999). "Eye of the Storm". The Sunday Age. p. 4. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  5. ^ "Sympathy from Brits" 22 November 2002 New Zealand City
  6. ^ "Rugby League: Test veteran first New Zealander to 250-match mark". The New Zealand Herald. 29 May 2004. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  7. ^ SBW named to start for Kiwis, ONE Sport, dated 26 October 2013.
  8. ^ "New Zealand put faith in Kearney". BBC Sport. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "New Zealand humble Kangaroos in World Cup final in Brisbane". Fox Sports News (Australia). 22 Nov 2008. Retrieved 23 Nov 2008. 
  10. ^ "Leading sports stars lauded". The New Zealand Herald. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Chris Anderson to help Stephen Kearney at Parramatta Eels". The Australian. 29 Jun 2012. Retrieved 20 Jul 2012. 
  12. ^ "My best not good enough: Stephen Kearney". The Daily Telegraph. 20 Jul 2012. Retrieved 20 Jul 2012. 
  13. ^ Kiwis Coach One of Three New Legends of League Named, 30 October 2012

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gary Kemble
New Zealand Kiwis

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Daniel Anderson
Parramatta Eels

Succeeded by
Ricky Stuart