This Sunday, competition heavyweights the Sydney Roosters do battle with the Warriors in a game which will undoubtedly prove crucial at season’s end.
Stephen Kearney is close to signing an extension that will keep him at the Warriors through to 2022, joining Ivan Cleary as the club’s longest-serving coach.
Chief executive Cameron George confirmed negotiations with Kearney are nearing an end and the 46-year-old is poised to be retained until the end of 2022.
Kearney, who is about to embark on the final leg of a three-season deal, would join Ivan Cleary as the only six-year coach in the club’s history dating back to 1995.
George wants to build success on a stable off-field core and said retaining Kearney is vital if they are to improve last year’s result, when they ended a seven-season playoff drought.
George noted the Warriors have employed 11 coaches since John Monie led the inaugural side, which explained why they have largely underperformed.
“We probably haven’t enjoyed many years of stability. It’s something that I’m very focused on trying to ensure that we do,” George said.
“He is a big part of the future in my eyes. He wants to be here, the club wants him to be here and it’s something I think is crucial.
“Stephen, for me, has all the characteristics that we, as a club, are crying out for.”
Cleary steered the club to a grand final in 2011, the final year of his contract.
The club barely threatened the post-season since, until Kearney’s men placed eighth last year, before losing their elimination final to Penrith.
It was a considerable improvement on Kearney’s first season in charge, when the Warriors won just seven of 24 games.
The former grand final winner as a player with Melbourne won just 10 of 42 matches in an aborted two-season stint as a maiden head coach at Parramatta in 2011-12.
He accepted an assistant post at the Brisbane Broncos and enjoyed success as Kiwis Test coach before joining the Warriors.
Kearney said “we are getting there” when quizzed on contract negotiations on Tuesday.
He said one consideration was whether to return to Brisbane, where his wife and two daughters remained when he crossed the Tasman in late 2016.