The Pirtek Parramatta Eels are pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Kearney as Head Coach for three years, until the end of the 2013 season.

Kearney joins the club after five years as Assistant Coach at the Melbourne Storm. Fellow Storm Assistant Brad Arthur will also join the Eels as Assistant Coach with Peter Sharp.

Kearney, who coached the New Zealand Kiwis to victory in the 2008 World Cup, is keen to get started in his first NRL Head Coaching role.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity of working with such a great club with a strong tradition,” Kearney said.

“The main priority for me is the next seven weeks. We start training on the first of November and our focus is making sure we work hard during the pre-season and putting in structures and processes n to make us a competitive team for the 2011 season.”

Parramatta Eels CEO Paul Osborne is delighted with Kearney’s appointment.

“Stephen Kearney brings a wealth of experience as a Coach and player to the club and is universally respected and admired in Australia, New Zealand and Britain,” he said.

Stephen played 264 first grade games in Australia over 13 seasons from 1992-2004 for Wests, Auckland Warriors and Melbourne Storm, before finishing his career with a season with Hull in the English Super League.

He is New Zealand’s youngest ever captain at 21 and has played 44 Tests for the Kiwis, placing him fourth in the Kiwis appearance list behind Ruben Wiki’s 55. Stephen has also been awarded New Zealand’s equivalent to our OAM, the Order of Merit Medal.

He has coached New Zealand since 2008, when he mentored them to the Centenary World Cup victory, and has been Craig Bellamy’s assistant coach at Melbourne since 2006.