Stephen Kearney will return to Melbourne Storm as an assistant coach to Craig Bellamy in 2021, the club confirmed this afternoon.
Player #28 for Storm, Kearney has previously had a five-year stint on Melbourne’s coaching staff as an assistant from 2006-10.
He was appointed as head coach of New Zealand’s national team in 2008 and coached the Kiwis in 42 internationals, including their first World Cup victory in 2009 and two Four Nations titles.
Kearney was head coach at Parramatta in 2010-11, assistant coach at Brisbane from 2013 to 2016 and returned to head coaching at the NZ Warriors from 2017 until midway through the 2020 season.
His return to Storm, where he played 139 matches over five seasons, will help the club cover for the departure of Jason Ryles, who will take up a position with England’s rugby team at the end of this season.
“We’re delighted to have someone of Stephen Kearney’s calibre come home to Melbourne Storm,” General Manager – Football Frank Ponissi said.
“He is a quality coach and an outstanding person who, along with his wife Piri, will warmly welcomed back to our club.
“While Stephen will be an assistant coach under Craig Bellamy, we are changing our coaching structure for 2021, with Marc Brentnall, Aaron Bellamy and Ryan Hinchcliffe taking on extra coaching responsibilities with our NRL squad.
“Stephen will have a mentoring role with both Aaron and Ryan, as well as assisting Craig, and we look forward to the input he will have across our football department.”
Kearney has signed a one-year deal and will join Storm for the start of the 2021 pre-season.