Former Manly coach Geoff Toovey has put his hand up to coach the New Zealand Kiwis as he makes a bid to return to rugby league's elite coaching ranks.
"I have applied and sent off my resume," Toovey told NRL.com on Friday, two days after applications closed to the NZRL after David Kidwell ended his two-and-a-half year tenure in late January.
Kidwell announced he would not be reapplying for the post after winning three Tests from 10, including just two from four played in the 2017 World Cup with all of New Zealand's games at home.
The Kiwis failed to make the semi-finals after losing to Tonga in the preliminary rounds and then Fiji in the quarter-finals.
But it is the calibre of players in that Kiwis side of last November that Toovey would love to get his hands on from forwards like Martin Taupau, Addin Fonua-Blake, Joe Tapine, Nelson Asofa-Solomona to the backs like Shaun Johnson, Te Maire Martin, Kodi Nikorima and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
"New Zealand is a country full of terrific athletes and there are quite a few of them [that] are rugby league players," Toovey said.
"So the multitude of talent there alone would be exciting to be a part of that.
"Whenever you've got a group of talented people striving to be the best, as a coach you want to be among that.
"I also think the Kiwis have under-achieved as far as their potential goes."
Toovey's most recent coaching stint – with Bradford Bulls in Super League – had its issues, with the club winning just six from 26 games during his tenure.
But his record at Manly is all quality – three finals series from four years in charge (2012-2015) including the 2013 Telstra Premiership grand final appearance against the Sydney Roosters.
The Sea Eagles won 61 of the 105 games Toovey was in charge. He was sacked to make way for Trent Barrett in 2016.
Toovey applying for the Kiwis job doesn't mean he has given up on re-entering the NRL coaching ranks. He applied for the Gold Coast Titans job last year.
"Not at all. I still want to coach at NRL level. But I look at the opportunities around, and this (Kiwis job) is a fantastic responsibility and opportunity," he said.
"It's different to the NRL or Super League. Firstly, it's a great honour to be a coach of a national team but it's not quite the same day-in, day-out of a club coach.
"It is still a lot of planning and positioning to get everything in place. But whereas with a club you can change things around week to week as you build your players, for a Test you've got to have everyone primed for that one game," Toovey said.
"There's no room to try things later on. That's a challenge I'd like to try."
He is even prepared to leave his northern beaches home in Sydney and move to New Zealand.
"I am relatively free now and have no ties to keep me here. But I'm not sure of the specifics entailed with the job yet," he said. "But I am flexible."
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