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Four compete for NZ Kiwis job

Four compete for NZ Kiwis job

The race for the NZ Kiwis head coach position is down to four, after applications closed last Friday.

NZ Rugby League received 14 enquiries from as far away as England for the role that became vacant when Stephen Kearney’s contract ended after the Rugby League World Cup in December.

The field has been reduced to a short list of candidates, who will now be interviewed by the appointment panel over the next week, with a recommendation due with the NZRL board by mid February.

The Kiwis’ first fixture this year will be the annual Anzac test on May 2.

Kearney has re-applied for his job, and faces competition from former national team-mates Richie Blackmore and David Kidwell, with Australian outsider Glenn Morrison, currently coaching in the English second division, rounding out the field.

The appointment process is running alongside a review of last year’s World Cup campaign, where the Kiwis stumbled one hurdle short of defending their title, falling to arch-rivals Australia in the final.

“We need to be clear that this process is not an indictment on Stephen Kearney’s performance as coach over the past six years,” says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden. “He has helped raise this programme to a higher level than it was when he arrived.

“But we were obliged to advertise this role once his contract expired and saw it as an opportunity to see who else was in the marketplace.

“It’s also an opportunity to scope out a succession plan – who can we begin developing as future Kiwis coaches?”

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.


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