Rugby League: Friends Mark Maguire, Mal Meninga, but foes when Kiwis meet Roos

It's fair to say Kiwis coach Michael Maguire and Kangaroos counterpart Mal Meninga have history.

"I played footy with him way back in the [Canberra Raiders] days and when his career ended, he came into the coaching ranks," reflects Meninga.

"He showed appetite for it and has had huge success."

From sharing a changing shed, they now go head to head for trans-Tasman bragging rights in Auckland on Saturday.

"Look, you always want to get one up on your teammates," grins Maguire.

He may never get a better chance, with Meninga selecting a side shorn of the playmakers that have dominated the green-and-golds for more than a decade.

They may not be vulnerable, but without those future immortals, they are at least human.

While Meninga can boast State of Origin and World Cup titles, Maguire has an NRL premiership to his name with South Sydney.

Kangaroos half Luke Keary is unable to split the duo, after spending time under both coaches.

"They're both so knowledgeable of the game and know rugby league very well," he says. "They're both good characters and both people you want to play for."

Just who'll get the most from his troops will be decided at Mt Smart Stadium.

"I'm obviouslty hoping that we get success on Saturday night," says Meninga.

"But once that game's all over and done with, I hope that New Zealand play really well in England and Madge has his success over there."

Friendly for now, but foes come this weekend.