Before I start I just want to ask one question. Does Wayne Bennett actually want to coach New Zealand?
We all know the complete disaster New Zealand Rugby League went through in 2007. From issues with the running of the game in New Zealand, to the shambolic performance of the Test side, 2007 was a year to forget.
However after amazingly supporting coach Gary Kemble, despite the fact the poor bloke was deemed out of his depth by everyone involved in the Kiwi side, the man that appointed and then backed Kemble has now publicly come out and said they will look to get Wayne Bennett involved in the Kiwi coaching setup and give him “any title he wanted.”.
Can you see Wayne Bennett taking over the running of the New Zealand Test side and saying “Nah, its OK, just call me an assistant coach, or better yet, a trainer.”
And the way the coaching position for the New Zealand side has been handled in recent years has been embarrassing and disgraceful!
It all started when Gary Freeman was relieved of his role as Test coached under the guise of a ridiculous new rule that stated any New Zealand coach had to be a full time resident of New Zealand.
Considering the number of professional coaches in New Zealand at the time could be counted on one finger….the job was then handed to Australian Daniel Anderson. Anderson soon had to deal with a core of selfish, egotistical players who were sick of his push for success with the New Zealand Warriors NRL club, and so that appointment didnt work out either.
In come Brian McClellan, who want the best coach technically, but he at least had the support of the players. McClellan has been by far and a way the most successful coach New Zealand has had for many years, but once again, ego’s took hold along with a feeling that McClellan was becoming a bit bigger than the power that be in the NZRL could handle.
So when McClellan was offered a coaching job overseas with the Leeds Rhinos, the NZRL did as little as they could to retain his services.
At that point the NZRL has to call for applications for the vacant NZ coaching job from across New Zealand. They had a number of applications and a long, drawn out process many felt was a waste of time.
When Kemble was appointed, he had no professional coaching experience and some claimed the powers that be had selected a guy they felt was easy to keep control of.
I feel very sorry for Gary Kemble. There is no doubt he is a good bloke that wants to do the very best he can for the NZRL. You can be sure that he is also aware of his situation, but it has been his dream to coach New Zealand and he is making the most of an opportunity.
The problem is, he just doesn’t have the experience needed and even the Test players he has coached have said so publicly.
So after appointing him, then watching a disastrous 2007 Tour, then backing him again, then reviewing his pointing, and then backing him again….now the NZRL is considering approaching Wayne Bennett. Wayne Bennett, who lives in Australia…
Looking at all that has happened in recent years, is it any wonder the game in New Zealand is is such turmoil?
I’m sure Wayne Bennett would be able to help the New Zealand and the Australian Rugby League has all but pleaded with the NZRL to bring Bennett in in some capacity. Will the egos at the NZRL make the move though and would Bennett want to step into such a situation.
Its one thing taking up a one off, one game coaching role that honours you. Its another to take on the thankless task of reviving pride in the black jersey, coaching in the Centenary World Cup against your home country.