Rugby league: Michael Maguire maintains he could have coached Kiwis, New South Wales concurrently as State of Origin role confirmed

Now confirmed as New South Wales coach, former NZ Kiwis boss Michael Maguire maintains he could have done both jobs.  

Last week, Maguire resigned from his post as head coach of the Kiwis, a job he'd held since 2018.  

After the resignation Brad Fittler left New South Wales following a 2-1 State of Origin series loss earlier this year, Maguire emerged as the clear favourite to take the job.  

And as links to State of Origin refused to go away, Maguire coached the Kiwis to a record 30-0 victory over Australia - in what was now his last game as head coach of New Zealand.

Michael Maguire.
Michael Maguire. Photo credit: Getty Images

Maguire made it clear to New Zealand Rugby League that he felt he would be able to coach both sides, given the lack of overlap between State of Origin and the international season.

However, NZRL chief executive Greg Peters told Newshub that the organisation wanted a coach completely committed to the Kiwis' job, forcing Maguire's hand if he wanted to join the Blues.

And as Maguire was officially unveiled in his new role, the 49-year-old asserted holding both jobs concurrently was a feasible option.

"Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way you'd like," Maguire said. "I still feel like I could have juggled both.

"I respect peoples' thoughts. One thing I do know, is when you're working in a campaign, everyone's got to be aligned.

"Their [NZRL] thoughts were in a different direction. I respected that, and I'm very fortunate now that I can carry on with the Blues."

Maguire's exit now leaves NZ Rugby League looking to find a new men's head coach.

However, Peters also told Newshub that it is in no rush to do so, given the Kiwis have no confirmed fixtures until the end of 2024.

All up, Maguire won 12 of the 18 tests he coached New Zealand in, having taken the role after the embarrassment of the 2017 World Cup, where the Kiwis fell to Fiji in the quarter-finals under former coach David Kidwell.

Maguire has since overseen a period of growth in the Kiwis, helped by a number of New Zealanders holding down first grade spots with their respective NRL clubs.

But with that core of younger players in particular still having so much room to grow at test level, Maguire confesses leaving the current group is his biggest disappointment in resigning from his Kiwis job.

"It is hard, you build a really strong connection with your players," he continued. "It's obviously what I want to build now with the New South Wales boys.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Kiwis. I thought I could do both and keep it going. But it's not to be.

"What I've learned and what they've taught me, the players, about the connections of coming into a camp and being together for periods of time, they've taught me a lot.

"I'm very appreciative of that, as well."