‘It’s an advantage’: Michael Maguire breaks silence on prospect of juggling Blues, Kiwis jobs

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

Michael Maguire believes his role with the Kiwis would be an “advantage” rather than a hindrance should he officially be installed as NSW coach given the latter position will only be a part-time role.

The NSWRL has earmarked Maguire as its preferred candidate to take over from outgoing mentor Brad Fittler, although the parties have yet to strike an official agreement. That appears to be a fait accompli given the New Zealand Rugby League has given the premiership-winning coach its blessing to continue in that role.

Maguire sees no issue holding the twin positions given the dual eligibility status of some potential representative players. However Maguire, speaking for the first time since entering official negotiations with the NSWRL, believes the situation will turn out to be mutually beneficial.

“Because it’s a campaign and not a full-time position, I actually think it’s an advantage to be across what’s happening at club and international level,” Maguire told this masthead.

“That will help me at state level if that comes to pass. I’m still plugged into what’s happening in football at other times of the year.”

The New Zealand national team will commence its Pacific Championships campaign against Samoa as part of an international triple-header at Auckland’s Eden Park. Given that he hasn’t officially put pen to paper with the NSWRL, coupled with the fact Kiwi players are coming into camp for the upcoming internationals, Maguire didn’t want the Blues job to be a distraction.

“I am so focused on the Kiwis at the moment,” Maguire said. “I put so much time into making sure that we have the best team we can put on the field and that is my full focus at the moment.

“I’ve got a steely focus on international footy, this is where we are going and this is what I’m doing.”

Michael Maguire has broken his silence about the NSW coaching job.Credit: Getty

Former NSW coach Brad Fittler walked away from the role after it was only offered to him on a part-time basis. However, Maguire is happy to accept the position in its newly condensed format.

While the NSWRL is content for Maguire to hold those positions simultaneously, Canberra has yet to decide on whether it’s appropriate for him to also continue as an assistant to Ricky Stuart. The Raiders board will discuss the matter before deciding whether a replacement is required.

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said a position had not yet been formed on the appropriateness of Maguire holding both roles.

“We haven’t considered that and won’t do so until the conclusion of the Kiwis’ campaign,” Peters said.

“Our 100 per cent focus is on the Kiwis, as is Michael’s at the moment.”

Maguire has yet to assemble or inform the NSWRL of his intended support staff given his Kiwis focus.

‘I actually think it’s an advantage to be across what’s happening at club and international level.’

NSWRL chairman Paul Conlon confirmed that Maguire is the preferred candidate to lead the Blues but further discussions were on hold until his commitments with New Zealand during the Pacific Championships were over.

“His sole focus is on preparing [New Zealand] for the upcoming three Test matches. In fact, that is exactly the quality that attracted us to him for the coaching role,” Conlon said. “He has made a long-term commitment to New Zealand Rugby League and we wish him all the best for the upcoming Test matches.”

Maguire’s immediate focus is installing a Kiwis captain to replace Jesse Bromwich, who has retired from representative football. Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris has emerged as the leading contender and told this masthead last month he would relish the opportunity.

“It would mean a lot,” Fisher-Harris said at the time. “I got to captain one game last year versus Jamaica and it was pretty special for me and my family.

“I would definitely put my hand up. I’m not the perfect speaker or anything like that, but if the team needs me to be captain, I’ll do it. I’ve got to back myself and lead the way I do. I think [leading through actions rather than words] is my strength.

“Kiwis is very special to me, to be honest. I haven’t had much opportunity to play due to injuries and Covid and stuff like that. I’ll take it with both hands and do what I can to put the jersey in a better place.”

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article