High-powered appointment panel named for Kiwis coaching job

Netball legend Waimarama Tauamaunu has been named on a high-powered selection panel to appoint the NZ Kiwis rugby league coach.

The former Silver Ferns captain and coach is one of New Zealand's most respected sporting figures, and is never one to pull punches when it comes to speaking her mind.

That quality will be put to good use, as NZ Rugby League attempts to recover from a disastrous World Cup with David Kidwell in charge.

The Kiwis, still ranked second in the world, were eliminated in the quarterfinals, losing to both Tonga and Fiji in the process.

An independent review found NZRL at fault for appointing the inexperienced Kidwell as coach and failing to put the appropriate support around him.

The national body has now opened applications for the Kiwis head coach position, naming a panel chaired by rugby league great Dean Bell.

Joining him and Taumaunu are former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, and former NZ Warriors captain and Kiwi Monty Betham.

The panel will be assisted by a recruitment specialist, who will ensure the transparency of the recruitment process.

"A key recommendation of the post-2017 World Cup review was there should be more transparency and rigor around various appointments," says NZRL chairman Reon Edwards.

"This independent panel is a great step forward for what is going to be a busy year for the game."

Bell, who played 26 tests for the Kiwis from 1983-89, was understandably disappointed with the team's World Cup showing.

"With the depth of rugby league talent the Kiwis have at their disposal, we should be challenging the best international sides, including Australia, and achieving consistent success," he says.

"We need to make sure that test football is given the status it deserves."

The Kiwis have already confirmed a test against England in Denver, Colorado, on June 23, with a home test against Australia later in the year, and a tour of England and France in October/November.

Applications for the coaching job close on April 6.