NRL: Stephen Kearney to remain Warriors coach until end of 2022 season

Stephen Kearney will remain New Zealand Warriors coach until the end of the 2022 NRL season.

The 46-year-old's contract extension was announced on Tuesday and will see Kearney joining Ivan Cleary as the longest reigning coach in Warriors history.

CEO Cameron George believes in long-term planning and sees the retention of Kearney as key in clubs progression as a genuine premiership contender.

"Securing Stephen for another three years is a huge boost for us as we prepare to begin our 25th season," George said.

"We haven't enjoyed a lot of stability as an organisation, especially in the coaching area.

"Without stability in our football department it's extremely challenging to improve and to achieve continuity.

"It's vital to have the right people in the right roles and in Stephen we have someone who absolutely fits what we need. He has all the characteristics you would want as both as coach and a person.

"Stephen is a big part of our future."

Kearney spent four seasons with the club as a player from 1995-1998 before joining as head coach at the beginning of the 2017 season.

2018 saw the club reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and Kearney believes that's where the Warriors belong.

"When I first came back to the club, I was honoured to be given the opportunity to help the club move forward and improve," Kearney said.

"I'm pleased to have my future sorted out with this new contract and to know I'll be with the club for a few more years.

"We made progress last season but, to be honest, the focus for me is always what's next for us."

The Warriors begin their season against the Bulldogs in Auckland on March 16.