Bennett backs Kearney's Warriors move
The Brisbane Broncos have thrown their full support behind departing assistant coach Stephen Kearney as he prepares to head to New Zealand to take up the Warriors' head coaching role.
Kearney has been with the Broncos since the 2013 season, beginning as an assistant coach under Anthony Griffin.
In what was a huge show of faith, Bennett replaced Griffin as head coach in 2015 and opted to keep Kearney in his coaching staff.
It was a decision that paid dividends, with the Broncos falling just one point short of grand final victory in 2015, losing to the North Queensland Cowboys in golden point.
Brisbane will be hoping to go one better this year, but even if they don't, Kearney's influence will not be understated.
A firm believer in Kearney's coaching ability, Bennett said he is pleased to see his colleague and friend this week accept a three-year deal with the Warriors.
"I'm pleased for Stephen," Bennett said.
"The Warriors are a club that's close to his heart.
"He's been a wonderful Kiwi player and a great coach for them so I can see the appeal to go back home.
"It will be great for him to have the opportunity to coach them."
Bennett and Kearney's partnership began years prior to the Broncos, with Kearney taking up a deal to coach the New Zealand national team in 2008.
That role involved Bennett as an assistant coach and advisor to Kearney, with the master coach helping Kearney coach his side to World Cup glory over Australia in 2008.
Kearney must now relinquish his role as coach of the Kiwis in order to put all his time and effort into a Warriors revival, and Bennett believes he is the man to do it.
"When I came back to the Broncos I had a decision to make about my coaching staff. I kept him on because I'd worked with him throughout my time with the New Zealand national side," he said.
"He brings the consistency that you need. He knows what works because he's been at Melbourne, Parramatta and coached internationally.
"He's on top of his game and he knows the things that you need to do each day.
"He'll create a great culture within the club. They've got a really good coach and I hope he does well with them."
The Warriors largely underachieved this year, missing the Telstra Premiership top eight with a roster that many believed would be worthy of a top-four finish.
It's hoped the signing of Kearney and the return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from injury will help the Warriors put together a real premiership challenge in 2017.
"I hope he unlocks the talent they have at their disposal," Bennett said.
"The game needs every club to be good so hopefully he puts them back up there.
"We all know how much talent the Warriors have at their club."