Wigan Warriors old boy Michael Maguire steps down from New Zealand role ahead of reported Origin job

Ben Olawumi
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire

New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire - Alamy

Former Wigan Warriors chief Michael Maguire will take the reins of New South Wales’ Origin team having relinquished his role as New Zealand’s head coach, according to reports Down Under.

Maguire – who took charge of the Kiwis in May 2018 – led them to a history-making win over 12-time world champions Australia at the start of this month.

Lifting the first-ever Pacific Cup, as part of the inaugural Pacific Championships, Maguire’s men stuffed the Kangaroos 30-0 in the competition’s final in Hamilton, that the Aussies’ biggest-ever test defeat.

The history-making triumph over the Kangaroos has proven to be Maguire’s 18th and final test match in charge of the Kiwis, with a 66.6% winning record (12/18), as his departure was confirmed by New Zealand earlier this morning amid speculation surrounding him assuming the NSW hotseat.

Wigan Warriors old boy Michael Maguire steps down from New Zealand role ahead of reported Origin job

Set to turn 50 in February, Maguire coached South Sydney Rabbitohs to an NRL Grand Final win in 2014 having been beaten at the semi-final stage the year prior.

He would also go on to head up Wests Tigers Down Under, carrying out that job alongside his role as the Kiwis chief for a number of years.

It was in this country where his head coaching journey began though, taking the reins at Wigan ahead of the 2010 season, and leading the Cherry and Whites to a Super League Grand Final triumph in his first year at the helm in addition to lifting the League Leaders’ Shield.

Before departing, he added a Challenge Cup to his collection with their 2011 triumph over Leeds Rhinos under the arch at Wembley.

Confirming his exit, a press release sent out by the Kiwis overnight reads: “The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) can now confirm that Michael Maguire will be stepping down from his role as Head Coach of the New Zealand Kiwis. “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,” says CEO Greg Peters. “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.” Peters concludes.”

Maguire all set for New South Wales gig

Numerous outlets Down Under are reporting that Maguire’s departure from the Kiwis’ hotseat comes with the expectation that he will assume the head coach role for New South Wales’ State of Origin side, including The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Blues have lost back-to-back Origin series, both by a score of 2-1, with Queensland triumphant in three of the last four years.

If and when Maguire takes up his new role, he will succeed Brad Fittler, who was in charge of NSW for pretty much the same timeframe as he with New Zealand.

Ex-Lebanon boss Fittler won both of his first two Origin series at the helm of the Blues in 2018 and 2019, but after those more recent back-to-back defeats, declined the offer of a contract extension and vacated his role at the end of September.

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