Michael Maguire has insisted that he will select on form and not on reputation as he was unveiled as the new coach of the Blues. The NSWRL on Thursday confirmed Maguire has signed a multi-year deal to replace Brad Fittler as NSW coach, days after resigning from his Kiwis coaching role after he was informed he couldn't do both.
Maguire will be joined by a strong team including John Cartwright, Matt King, Brett White and Storm general manager of football Frank Ponissi. The Maroons under Billy Slater have won back-to-back series and the Maguire has made it clear that he will be overhauling the selection process moving forward.
The former Wests Tigers coach's focus on form not reputation could spell trouble for Blues legend and skipper James Tedesco who will have to ward off the challenges of Tom Trbojevic, Dylan Edwards and Latrell Mitchell to hold onto his fullback spot. "I'm big on form," Maguire said.
"The biggest thing I’ll say to all the players is just to go out and play the best footy that you can play because that’ll play a big part in where we go as a group. 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."
Maguire believes he could have done both the Blues and Kiwis job
Maguire being announced as Blues coach comes less than a week after he left his role with the Kiwis after the NZRL board were reportedly unwilling to let him remain as coach if he took the Blues job. The former Rabbitohs coach put forward his case of why he could do both but ultimately it was not enough to convince them, despite recently helping New Zealand to a record 30-0 thrashing over the Kangaroos in the Pacific Championships final.
"Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way you’d like," Maguire said, speaking about the New Zealand job. "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.
"One thing I do know is when you’re working in a campaign, everyone’s got to be aligned. Their thoughts were in a different direction and I respected that. I'm very fortunate now that I can go on with the Blues."
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