Coach Stephen Kearney works to mend up rift

Last updated 05:00 23/02/2014
Stephen Kearney
Jamie McDonald/ Getty
KIWIS COACH: Stephen Kearney.

Relevant offers


NRL hits $2-billion TV rights jackpot South Sydney Rabbitohs' salary cap woes leaves Sam Burgess deal in doubt News Corp poised to snare NRL rights Dylan Walker released by South Sydney Rabbitohs after prescription drug scandal South Sydney Rabbitohs fine Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray over prescription drug overdose Warriors assistant coach Justin Morgan excited about what new stars will bring Kiwi league star Benji Marshall looks to extend career and rugby is an option Former Warriors coach Tony Kemp says Taranaki NRL game 'massive' for the province Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei plans eyebrow tribute to Jonah Lomu Young Dragons players praise Kiwi league prop Russell Packer and call for him to stay in Australia

Reappointed Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney says he has already started work on mending a major rift inside the squad over the world cup sleeping pill and energy drinks saga.

The story that the New Zealand Rugby League was investigating that some players were mixing the two during the cup campaign was broken by Fairfax Media shortly after the tournament ended with the Kiwis humbled 34-2 in the final.

The way the NZRL has handled the issue has caused dissatisfaction among players and also created a rift among team-mates, several of whom remain unhappy with others not preparing and performing at their best for what was the biggest game of their lives.

Others are upset that the names of some players who mixed sleeping pills and energy drinks have been leaked and, in some cases, reported. It is understood that at least one Australia-based player named publicly by some media was in fact not involved. He is angry over the claim and the manner in which the NZRL has handled its investigation.

Earlier this month, winger Jason Nightingale expressed his disappointment that details of the NZRL's report were being leaked.

In recent days, there have been suggestions some players feel so strongly about the issue that they are considering making themselves unavailable for the Kiwis.

But with the Anzac test in Sydney in 10 weeks' time, Kearney says he's confident that he can iron out any problems.

"I think the group will come together pretty well . . . I've already started the process of talking to some key stakeholders within the group," Kearney said.

"I've got no doubt that they'll come together. In my conversations with them, they are keen to be a part of the Kiwi team again, so there won't be a problem there."

The NZRL said it was not prepared to name the players involved in the questionable practice which is not illegal but which Kearney agrees is not acceptable.

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who is your pick for international league player of the year?

Shaun Johnson

Jesse Bromwich

Sam Burgess

James Graham

Greg Inglis

Johnathan Thurston

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content