Kearney has NZRL backing

Last updated 05:00 11/11/2009

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New Zealand league boss Scott Carter has staunchly backed Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney despite his side's early exit from the Four Nations – and revealed that not making the tournament final means the NZRL will make more money.

NZRL chairman Carter agreed to an extended deal with Kearney to 2013 before the tournament began, and, despite the Kiwis missing their agreed performance goal of an appearance in the final after losing 20-12 to England last Saturday, he said Kearney had now proved himself as a coach.

"He's got our full confidence: I think the Kiwis-Australia test dispelled any doubt that some people might have had that the World Cup success was somehow totally down to Wayne Bennett. Stephen has shown he can deliver very well indeed."

Carter said that the prospect of an England-Australia final in Leeds on Saturday would actually benefit the still cash-strapped NZRL. An agreement that promoted the Kiwis to tournament "partners" alongside the British and Australians, instead of mere participants, means they receive an equal cut of profits.

So, with the home side reaching the final, the likely increase in ticket sales and merchandise will earn the NZRL more money than the relatively small prizemoney available for first and second place.

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