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Wright fit for Kiwis staff

August 15, 2014

Wright fit for Kiwis staff

Junior Warriors assistant coach Kelvin Wright gets a chance for career advancement, when he joins the NZ Kiwis staff for the upcoming Rugby League Four Nations campaign.

Wright (33) will become an analyst under head coach Stephen Kearney and assistant David Kidwell, as NZ Rugby League bolsters its stocks of homegrown coaching talent.

“One of the challenges that became obvious to us through our coach appointment process this year was the need to develop our elite coaching depth,” says NZRL football general manager Tony Iro.

“We already have some very promising candidates coming through our national team programmes and with the Warriors, and we saw this as a chance to promote another bright young talent to the next level.”

As a player, Wright boasts an outstanding club and representative record, helping the Auckland Lions to four Bartercard Cup national titles. In 2007, he captained the side and was named NZRL Bartercard Cup Player of the Year.

He also played for Villeneuve Leopards in the 2004 French championship and led Mt Albert Lions to Fox Memorial club titles in 2008, 09. He was a member of the NZ side that took out the 1999 Universities World Cup, and represented NZ Residents in 2006 and 2009.

Since hanging up his boots, Wright has coached Otara Scorpions and Bay Roskill Vikings in the Auckland club competition, and assisted with Akarana Falcons 17s, before joining the Warriors as U20s assistant, initially under John Ackland and now Kiwis legend Stacey Jones.

He’s also the current Junior Kiwis assistant under Brent Gemmell.

“Having worked with him before, I know that he has an astute football mind and the potential to become one of our best coaches over the long term,” says Iro.

“I think it also shows we’re serious about developing our coaching pathway.”

Wright is excited to take this next phase in his coaching career.

“For me, it’s a fantastic opportunity,” he says. “I feel really lucky and honoured to be part of the Kiwis coaching staff.

“I see it as a step in the right direction and hopefully, it shows other young Kiwi coaches that the opportunities are there, if they put the time in.

“I think I’ve got good knowledge of the game and after speaking to Stephen Kearney, I think he just needs another set of eyes and another voice with different ideas.”

Wright deftly balances his coaching aspirations with his day job as a builder and is a shining example to others on the league pathway, who are being urged to consider their options off the field, while pursuing their professional and international dreams on it.

As part of that education programme, The Skills Organisation and Competenz have recently joined forces with NZ Rugby League under the "Got a Trade? Got it Made!" banner.

“There’s no doubt it’s challenging, but having a trade can work as an advantage,” he says. “It’s a lot more viable option than other businesses, where the hours aren’t as flexible.

“I love it. You’ve got to have something outside of football and you’re around hard-working, down-to-earth people that love sport.

“I’d definitely encourage young people to take up a trade. It’s hard work, but it gives you a good work ethic, which can translate onto the football field.”


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