7 Oct 2009

Kearney to stay past next league world cup

2:14 pm on 7 October 2009

The New Zealand rugby league coach Stephen Kearney has signed a new four-year contract that will take him through to the Kiwis' world cup defence in 2013.

The news comes as the national side begins a training camp in Auckland ahead of the Four Nations tournament in France and England.

The Kiwis face Tonga in a one-off Test at Rotorua next week.

Just three days ago the Melbourne Storm, Kearney's main employers - he's the assistant coach - won the NRL grand final.

Kearney says the job stability will be good for the whole team as he can stay working with this group of players and set some real standards.

Across the Tasman, the former prime minister John Howard has been approached by league officials to become the inaugural chairman of an independent commission to run the NRL, according to reports from News Limited.

Howard, who's 70, is seen as a distinguished, statesman-like figure with no ties to either the News Limited or Australian Rugby League factions.