New Zealand have advertised for a new head coach, although Stephen Kearney is still in the running to continue.
Kearney, 41, guided the Kiwis to World Cup glory in 2008 and then to the final in 2013, as well as winning the 2010 Four Nations.
His contract was up at the end of the recent World Cup, and he has indicated he will re-apply for the position.
NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said: “We have a big year in prospect and want a strong build-up towards what may well be a 2017 World Cup on home soil.
“Stephen has done a great job with the Kiwis, but this is a chance for us to test the market and see who else puts their hand up for the role.”
The New Zealand team face their annual Anzac fixture against the Kangaroos in May and the Four Nations competition later in the year, dates and venues for both yet to be confirmed.
Applications for the Kiwis coaching position will close on January 31, with a short list of candidates to be interviewed in early February and a recommendation made to the NZRL board mid-month.
The six-man selection panel consists of Holden, three NZRL board members – chairman Scott Carter, former Kiwis player Iva Ropati and former Kiwis manager Ray Haffenden – NZRL high performance manager Tony Iro, and High Performance Sport NZ coaching consultant and world champion Black Sox softball coach Eddie Kohlhase.
“What’s driving this from our point of view is the Anzac test,” says Holden. “We’re trying to create as much time as we can to prepare for that first challenge of the year.”
The appointment process will take place in parallel with a review of the Kiwis’ World Cup campaign, conducted under a template provided by HPSNZ and due for completion in early February.
“Obviously, there were things we did really well and other things we need to improve on to reclaim the World Cup next time round,” says Holden.
“We wanted this process to be as robust as possible to help us get the right coach in place and begin our long-term preparations for 2017.”