Michael Maguire's position as head coach of the New Zealand rugby league side is under a massive cloud, amid reports he's set to be officially appointed to the NSW State of Origin role this week. Speculation over Maguire's future has been rumbling on for weeks after he was offered the job to take over from former Blues coach Brad Fittler by the NSWRL.
Maguire helped guide the Kiwis to their record-breaking 30-0 thumping of the Kangaroos on Saturday in the final of the Pacific Championships. The former Wests Tigers mentor is contracted to the NZRL and the Canberra Raiders - where he serves as an assistant coach to Ricky Stuart - until the end of 2025.
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It's understood the NSWRL has given Maguire their blessing to remain as coach of the Kiwis, while also taking the reins of the Blues' Origin side. However, the decision on whether Maguire is able to juggle the roles looks like it will ultimately be up to the NZRL, according to the The Daily Telegraph's David Riccio.
The league reporter said on SEN 1170 Breakfast that is was an "unprecedented" move by Maguire to try and juggle an international coaching role with a State of Origin position. Riccio claimed New Zealand officials were not happy that reports dropped before the Pacific Championships series that Maguire was set to take over the Blues, and could ultimately cut him loose from his Kiwis role if he does accept the NSW offer.
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“As far as retaining both positions, that’s the great debate, (it’s) unprecedented,” Riccio said. “We have not had the head coach of a State of Origin side also remain as an international Test coach, that is what Michael Maguire will attempt.
“NZRL are yet to ratify that from their point of view, they weren’t over the moon that this story broke on the eve of the Pacific Championships. Time will tell whether they retain Michael Maguire as the head coach of the Kiwis.”
Maguire's Kiwis side won the Pacific Championships decider against Australia after inflicting the biggest loss on the Kangaroos in their 115-year history. Letting the coach go after masterminding such a momentous feat would be a big call from the Kiwis, considering Maguire has previously insisted he is committed to New Zealand and “100 per cent going to the World Cup” with the Kiwis in 2026.
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However, Riccio reported that Maguire's new role with the Blues is set to be rubber-stamped this week after his return from New Zealand. “It’s the most critical appointment in rugby league at this time,” Riccio added.
“In a perfect world, NSWRL would have Michael Maguire in at headquarters signing the contract (on Monday), he was scheduled to be on a flight back from New Zealand to Australia early this week. I expect it to happen, certainly all of the discussions were with the NSWRL and Maguire was, get through the Test, get through the final then come back into Sydney this week and get this deal done.
“Originally it was discussed that they could potentially get it done (on Monday) I just don’t think that will happen... but NSWRL would love for that to happen.” Riccio's comments come after Maguire previously hinted at unfinished business with the Kiwis and a desire to lead them into the 2026 World Cup, despite coming off contract the year before.
"One hundred per cent, I'm going to the (2026) World Cup," Maguire insisted. "I can assure you now, that's my plan. You've got to be successful as a coach, to be able to go to where we want to get to.
"That is my plan and I want nothing more than to be able to stand with the players and achieve that (World Cup success). I won't lie, it hurt not to be able to do it overseas (at last year's World Cup) and that's the driving factor of where I sit right now."
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