International rugby league received a shock at the start of the month when New Zealand handed Australia their record defeat, and now the man who masterminded that result has stepped down.
In the Pacific Championship Final the Kiwis romped home with a 30-0 win over their historic rivals in a total show of dominance.
Now, just 20 days later head coach Michael Maguire has stepped down from his role in charge, further fuelling speculation that he’s set to take on a role as New South Wales Head Coach.
Maguire made his coaching bow in England, leading Wigan Warriors to a Grand Final win in his first season with the club and he’s rarely stopped to look back since as he’s developed into one of the sport’s elite coaches.
In his second season with the Cherry and Whites he helped them land the Challenge Cup, before heading home to Australia to take on the job of South Sydney Rabbitohs head coach.
His first three seasons saw play-offs, a second-place finish and then finally in 2014 the illustrious Grand Final win thanks in part to that iconic performance from Sam Burgess.
After leaving the Bunnies Maguire took on the international job, whilst also coaching Wests Tigers up until 2022, but he now steps down from the Kiwi coaching spot after 12 wins in his 18 matches.
He has been heavily linked with the New South Wales role with Brad Fittler having stepped down from the role in September following back to back series defeats for the Blues.
Fittler has served as NSW coach since 2018 but the role now becomes vacant and Maguire heads the line-up of likely replacements, something further signified by today’s news of him stepping down from the international set-up.
In reacting to the news the New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Greg Peters paid Maguire plenty of respect, releasing a statement which read as below.
“The mana, history and whakapapa associated with the black and white jersey mean any role in and around the Kiwi team is the ultimate privilege. Michael’s dedication to the role and players has seen him achieve incredible things over the last six years.
“Michael is the ultimate professional and has connected deeply with the NZRL whānau and playing group. We wish him nothing but success in his next career step.”
A New South Wales Rugby League spokesperson also commented on the situation, however kept their cards close to their chest regarding an immediate approach.
“It is common knowledge that the NSWRL Board has been working through a process with Michael Maguire,” the spokesperson told NRL.com.
“As soon as the matter is finalised we will make a public announcement but until then, we will not be making further comment.”