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NZRL seeks Kiwis head coach

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NZ Rugby League has formally advertised the role of NZ Kiwis head coach, previously held by Stephen Kearney.

The incumbent, who guided the national side to their 2008 Rugby League World Cup and 2010 Four Nations triumphs, also led them back to the World Cup final against Australia last November.

Kearney's contract ended after that tournament and he has already indicated he will re-apply for the position.


"We have a big year in prospect and want a strong build-up towards what may well be a 2017 World Cup on home soil," says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden.

"Stephen has done a great job with the Kiwis, but this is a chance for us to test the market and see who else puts their hand up for the role."

The New Zealand team face their annual Anzac fixture against the Kangaroos in May and the Four Nations competition later in the year, dates and venues for both yet to be confirmed.



Applications for the Kiwis coaching position will close on January 31, with a short list of candidates to be interviewed in early February and a recommendation made to the NZRL board mid-month.

The six-man selection panel consists of Holden, three NZRL board members - chairman Scott Carter, former Kiwis player Iva Ropati and former Kiwis manager Ray Haffenden - NZRL high performance manager Tony Iro, and High Performance Sport NZ coaching consultant and world champion Black Sox softball coach Eddie Kohlhase.



"What's driving this from our point of view is the Anzac test," says Holden. "We're trying to create as much time as we can to prepare for that first challenge of the year."

The appointment process will take place in parallel with a review of the Kiwis' World Cup campaign, conducted under a template provided by HPSNZ and due for completion in early February.

"Obviously, there were things we did really well and other things we need to improve on to reclaim the World Cup next time round," says Holden.

"We wanted this process to be as robust as possible to help us get the right coach in place and begin our long-term preparations for 2017."



A position description is attached and general enquiries should be directed to NZRL administration manager Dana Corlett at +64 9 571 3877 or admin@nzrl.co.nz.

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It's a tough job. If you beat AUS regularly you stay as long as you want. If you beat England but lose to AUS you probably get another year. If you lose to both England and AUS, you're fired.


They had enough talent on the paddock to win that WC final. The Aussies took it up another gear, the Kiwis didn't. Is that a man-management failing? or were the Aussies just better?

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Doesn't have to be but it's probably a matter of national pride. Who else is there anyway? Sheens won't last much longer so the major AUS candidates would probably hold out for that gig. Agar's already taken. So's McBanana so who's left? Stankiewicz? I think he's the best coach England has ever produced, according to his press statements.

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I think Bennett is 63 now. He's got that adult son with Downes Syndrome so I think a lot depends on how independent the kid is. If he can't live independently then I'd guess Bennett will head back to Brisbane to take some of the load off his wife.

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