Luke backs Maguire to rejuvenate Kiwis
Warriors hooker Issac Luke believes Michael Maguire is just the man to lead New Zealand out of the darkness following a failed World Cup campaign last year with David Kidwell at the helm.
The former South Sydney coach is expected to be announced on Thursday as the new Kiwis head coach and he has received a glowing endorsement by some of his former colleagues.
Luke, who was a key member of South Sydney's drought-breaking 2014 Telstra Premiership campaign under Maguire, said he would bring a more "ruthless" attitude to the top job.
"I still text him from time to time, he's been a big part my development over the past six or so years," Luke said.
"In 2012 he came over to the club and in 2011 when I got suspended from the Four Nations he rang me and gave it to me about that, I had never even met him.
"So as a coach, he's tough and if he gets the nod I know he'll bring a different, more ruthless attitude to the job. In his time at Souths he definitely brought the best out of myself and guys like Greg Ingles as well."
On his own aspirations to get back into a black and white jersey, Luke is willing and waiting, as long as he can overcome his annoying shoulder injury.
"If I get the chance I'll grab it with both hands. Personally, I'd love to see him (Maguire) there."
Stephen Kearney knows a thing or two about coaching the Kiwis, having won a World Cup and Four Nations during his tenure.
He also knows Maguire pretty well, working with him as an assistant during their time in Melbourne.
Kearney said while he hadn't been keeping too close an eye on the vacant job, he too backed his former colleague as the man to step up.
"I haven't been paying a great deal of attention to it, I have a bit on my plate here, but I think if it gets announced tomorrow that's a positive and a step closer to getting things sorted," he said.
"I worked with Madge in Melbourne and know him pretty well. He obviously won a premiership with South Sydney and is a quality coach who knows what he's doing."
Asked whether the pair had spoken about the role prior to Maguire applying, Kearney said "possibly".
"He was great to work with in Melbourne, he went away to Wigan and was very successful then came back and built a really strong culture at South Sydney so I think he would be a real positive move for New Zealand."