Stephen Kearney's exile from the NRL has been brief with a plumb appointment at the Brisbane Broncos awaiting the Kiwis coach after Saturday's trans-Tasman test against the Kangaroos in Townsville.
Kearney, sacked by Parramatta in July with more than a year remaining on his contract, has landed an assistants' role at the six-time premiers, removing him as a potential successor to Brian McClennan at the New Zealand Warriors.
The former Kiwis second rower applied for the vacant head coach role at Mt Smart but is not thought to have figured prominently in the club's rebuilding phase after a disastrous fall from grace for the 2011 Grand Finalists.
As Kearney welcomed the Kiwis 19-man squad to their training base in Cairns it emerged he would be relocating from Sydney to Brisbane later this month to join Anthony Griffin's staff.
He replaces Queensland and Broncos legend Allan Langer, who is moving to the club's commercial division.
Kearney's two-year deal will not impact on his position with the New Zealand Rugby League, which expires at the conclusion of next year's World Cup.
Although he has aspirations to secure another head coaching role in the NRL despite his wretched reign at the Eels, Kearney has reverted to a supporting role which he previously occupied for five years at the Melbourne Storm under mentor Craig Bellamy - the Warriors preferred candidate as McClennan's replacement.
"I put my name forward for the head role at New Zealand Warriors, but decided the best thing for me and my family is to come to Brisbane," Kearney told News Ltd.
He also made the candid admission that "I had bitten off more than I could chew with Parramatta" although he felt the experience would be beneficial as his coaching career receives a significant boost.
Kearney joins could not be specific about his area of responsibility as the Broncos strive to improve on this season's elimination in the opening week of the finals series by North Queensland.
However, Griffin, who coached Kearney at the Storm in 2002 when serving under Mark Murray, is thought to be impressed with his defensive strategies.
Griffin said Kearney would bring a fresh perspective to the Broncos as an outsider with no prior connection to the operation.
"The fact his experience has been gained outside the history and culture of this club means he brings a new point of view to our coaching department," Griffin said.
Incumbent Kiwis fullback Josh Hoffman is the only member of the current squad playing at the Broncos - wing Gerard Beale will play for St George Illawarra next year.
The Kiwis start their training regime today and have two more sessions scheduled before heading to Townsville on Wednesday.
- © Fairfax NZ News