Rugby League: Kiwis coach Michael Maguire praises tripleheader concept

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire hopes the international tripleheader concept will stick around for the future, after his side's 26-24 win over the Kangaroos.

New Zealand faced Australia in a trans-Tasman tripleheader, which saw the Junior Kiwis take on the Junior Kangaroos, the Kiwi Ferns tackle the Jillaroos in a women's test, while the Kiwis played the Kangaroos men.

An estimated 12,763 fans showed up at Mt Smart Stadium to watch the game, but if fans knew how good the Kiwis were going to play, more would have come through the gate.

The low crowd number may have been due to the fact Tonga face Australia next weekend in Auckland, with reports claiming that match has nearly sold out.

Despite the Junior Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns losing, the night ended in thrilling fashion, as the Kiwis overcame a half-time deficit to beat the world champions 26-24.

Maguire was pleased with how the night went and thinks the fans got good value for their money.

"I hope it keeps going," said Maguire. "I think it's great for New Zealand rugby league, for sure.

"I've spent some time running around New Zealand, seeing how excited people are about the game and we all want to grow the game.

"I think, for the juniors, that is the future of where we will go. The girls got really close there, so it goes to show how tight it is.

"The tripleheaders are great for the game."  

Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme.
Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme. Photo credit: Photosport

Both Kiwi Ferns coach Kelvin Wright and captain Honey Hireme shared similar views on securing more test matches for the women's team, even if it meant being a part of a tripleheader.

"I haven't seen the international window for next year, but I think tonight has proven that the more these kinds of games can be played the better," said Wright.

"I'd loved to see more games played at international level."

"We're really keen to have these tests matches against Australia and other countries," Hireme added. "The more test matches we get, the more we'll grow the women's game."