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Jackson lands Kiwi Ferns coaching job

Jackson lands Kiwi Ferns coaching job

Taranaki-based coach Alan Jackson will take the helm of the NZ Kiwi Ferns for their Anzac Test curtainraiser against the world champion Australia Jillaroos in Brisbane on May 1.

Jackson has extensive playing and coaching experience, having represented New Zealand at age-group level and played semi-professionally in England. He has coached Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and Central Districts men, assisting with the Mid Central Vipers in last season’s NZRL National Premiership.

But perhaps his most notable recent performance was guiding the unheralded Vipers to last year’s national women’s final and earning Coach of the Tournament honours along the way.

Jackson, who is currently full-time development officer for Mid Central Zone, was confirmed in his new role by a selection panel consisting of New Zealand Rugby League vice chairman Ray Haffenden, national coaching manager Dan Keepa, national talent manager Dean Watkins, and AUT University senior lecturer in coaching and skills acquisition Sarah-Kate Miller.

“It’s a real honour to get any job coaching a New Zealand representative side,” says Jackson. “I’ve never coached a national side before, so this is definitely a big step up in my career and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I think the Kiwi Ferns are in good shape. They’re a very experienced side, with a lot of girls that have been around a while and played a lot of football.”

He replaces incumbent Rusty Matua, who has held the post for the past 12 months, including victory over the Aussies in a one-off test at Wollongong last November and a 2-1 series triumph at last month’s NRL Auckland Nines.

Matua’s term ended after the nines tournament and the position was re-advertised.

“Rusty has achieved some great results at a time when we are really trying to boost the profile of the women’s game,” says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden.

“The standard of competition for this coaching job shows the women’s programme is growing in popularity and prestige, and we believe Alan’s appointment will take it to another level.”

Incumbent Beejay Hewitt of Auckland retains the assistant role he held under Matua.

ENDS

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