Wayne Bennett believes Stephen Kearney can be the circuitbreaking coach the Warriors need to finally unlock the NRL club’s potential.
Kearney was announced as the Warriors’ new boss on Tuesday, replacing Andrew McFadden, who was demoted to an assistant role.
Currently Bennett’s right-hand man in Brisbane, the former Kiwi Test second-rower will officially commence the new job once the Broncos’ finals campaign is over.
Bennett believes the Warriors have made a smart choice, describing Kearney as a coach “on top of his game” who will know precisely how to sort out their issues.
Despite some of the best on-paper talent in the competition, the New Zealand franchise haven’t made the finals since 2011, with Kearney to become their seventh coach since then.
“I hope he is (the right coach) for their sake,” Bennett said.
“The game needs them to be good; the game needs every club to be good.
“I’m pleased for Steve – it’s a club I’m sure is close to his heart.
“He’s been a wonderful Kiwi player and a great coach for them so it’s obviously something that’s got a lot of appeal to him, to go back home and have the opportunity to coach there in his own right.”
In Kearney’s last stint as a NRL coach, he quit Parramatta with three rounds to go in the 2012 season after guiding them to just 10 wins in 42 games.
However, he has been New Zealand’s Test coach since 2008, with Bennett famously serving as his assistant when they won the World Cup that year.
“When I came back (to Brisbane), I had a decision to make about coaches,” Bennett said.
“I did keep him on because I’ve worked with him in the New Zealand team and he brings up that predictability, that consistency you need.
“He’s on top of his game, knows the things you’ve got to do every day, what you’ve got to drive, culture – all those things.
“They’ve got themselves a really good coach and I hope he does really well.”