Ex-Wigan Warriors head coach Michael Maguire has been appointed as New South Wales Blues boss following his recent and very public resignation from the New Zealand job.
Maguire led New Zealand to a huge win over Australia at the start of the month, guiding his Kiwi side to inflict the heaviest defeat ever on Australia as they ran up a 30-0 score line in the Pacific Championship final.
With International Rugby League’s commitment to putting on a bigger and better international calendar some argued that the victory was a sliding doors moment, in which New Zealand could reclaim the mantle as the best rugby league nation in the world.
Of course the vision was to have Maguire at the pinnacle of that, serving as head coach and leading the Kiwis into the future however Maguire had eyes elsewhere.
Maguire was reportedly keen on the vacant New South Wales role, former boss Brad Fittler having stepped down earlier in the year following back-to-back series defeats.
New Zealand Rugby League put their foot down though, considering dismissing Maguire, before eventually allowing the ex-Wigan man to call time on his role.
That decision came with the following statement from NZRL Chief Executive Greg Peters: “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.”
That next step has now been confirmed with Maguire confirmed as Blues head coach and having spoken upon his appointment.
Maguire was quick to highlight that form will be the biggest indicator to his selection, not necessarily that incumbents will keep their role.
He explained to the Daily Telegraph: “When you’ve got people in really good form and they’re coming into camp with a positive mindset about how they want to do things, I go after those players.
“I’m looking forward to just letting the players go out and play now. I’ll have discussions to be able to find ideas around what’s going to best work for NSW and the squad, but I’m also going to say to them ‘go out and enjoy yourselves and play your best footy’, and when the time’s right, we’ll have to pick a team.”
Asked about the Kiwi job, Maguire stated: “Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way you’d like.
“I still feel that I could have juggled both. Obviously they’re campaigns (not full seasons), it’s just understanding that. But I respect peoples’ thoughts.”