Rugby league: Michael Maguire confirmed as NSW head coach after early exit from NZ Kiwis

  • 30/11/2023

Michael Maguire has been confirmed as State of Origin's New South Wales Blues' new head coach.

Last week, Maguire announced he'd be stepping down early from his role as head coach of NZ Kiwis amid widespread speculation he would move into the role vacated by Brad Fittler.

The news came just a few weeks after he'd helped guide New Zealand to the inaugural Pacific Championship title, beating his native Australia by a record 30-point margin in the final in Hamilton.

Michael Maguire.
Michael Maguire. Photo credit: Getty Images

Maguire will be joined by John Cartwright, Matt King and Brett White as assistant coaches.

"Michael is a multiple premiership-winning coach in two hemispheres and has been successful in the international arena as head coach of the New Zealand team," NSWRL chief executive officer David Trodden said.

"Together with Michael's recent experience at the Raiders, they all bring strong current NRL experience to the Blues as assistant coaches - with John working alongside Kevin Walters at the Broncos, Matt with Trent Robinson at the Roosters, and Brett with Des Hasler at the Titans."

Maguire met with the NZRL board last week but was unsuccessful in convincing them it would be possible to do both the Kiwis and NSW roles, ultimately choosing to prioritise his opportunity at State of Origin level.

"Michael's made a decision, he wants to choose another coaching pathway," NZRL chief executive Greg Peters told Newshub. "He's entitled to make that decision.

"He's a professional coach, and coaches of that calibre have many opportunities come their way. We'd love for him to stay with the Kiwis, but at the end of the day, he's made this call.

"We will move on and respect that."

Maguire will take the helm of the Blues after Fittler's resignation in September, which came on the back of consecutive series defeats.