Internationals Bluey Says He'll Never Coach Kiwis Again


Former Kiwis coach Brian McClennan has doused any thoughts of a comeback, insisting he will never work for the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) again.

Despite guiding the Kiwis to the 2005 Tri-Nations title and an extra time defeat in the epic 2006 final against Australia, McClennan was dumped last year when he signed with English club Leeds.

He lost the job when the NZRL invoked the rule that the coach must live in New Zealand.

Ironically, NZRL chairman Ray Haffenden confirmed last weekend that the residency rule had been scrapped, clearing the way for talks with Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to succeed Gary Kemble.

McClennan, in Jacksonville, Florida preparing Leeds for their exhibition match against South Sydney on Sunday, said he wasn't interested in any role with the Kiwis.

"As far as I'm concerned, I will never work for the NZRL again," he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I'm a Leeds man now. This is what I want to concentrate on, this is where I want to be."

Kiwis winger Tame Tupou, who has played under McClennan with the Kiwis and Bennett with the Broncos, yesterday added his voice to the debate.

"With this new rule, I see no reason why they can't bring back Bluey," Tupou told NZPA.

"It'll be good having a New Zealander and I know how hard he's worked over the last few years to improve things on and off the field for New Zealand rugby league.

"He's really passionate about the game and especially New Zealand rugby league, and it's only fair to put someone in that position that's already done a lot of hard work to put New Zealand where they are these days.

"Knowing the success he's been through with some of the players, I think there would be a lot of happy people to see him back."

Former Kiwis captain Stephen Kearney has remained silent on reports he is poised to become Bennett's assistant, but said last week he was staggered the NZRL cut McClennan loose.

"The guy that took them to a tri-series win, I can't see what was wrong with him," Kearney said.

NZRL director of football Graham Lowe this week said McClennan didn't feature on the radar for a recall.

He said Bennett, the former Queensland and Kangaroos coach, was in a different league.

"With due respect to that we're talking about Wayne Bennett, we're talking about something totally different. It's as simple as that," Lowe told Radio Sport.

"Once we've done a bit of work in the background and got something to put to Wayne, that's what Ray Haffenden will do.

"If Wayne's available and wants to do it, he'll be offered the job."

There was still no news on the coaching front today, with Haffenden reportedly set to fly to Brisbane this week to meet with Bennett and table a formal offer.

Kemble resigned last Saturday after senior players Roy Asotasi and David Kidwell publicly stated he was out of his depth at test level.


Well I can't really blame Bluey too much since the NZRL was and I think still is a shambles and a joke of a national union for a sport.


Nor can i Esoj, but i hope for the good of the game in NZ he softens his stance in the years to come.


I can't blame him, he got shafted really.
We all know he loved the job but throughout his span as coach I don't think the NZRL gave him enough respect.
Bluey is a pretty simple guy (in a good way) he knows right from wrong.


Nor can i Esoj, but i hope for the good of the game in NZ he softens his stance in the years to come.
The guy got treated with massive disrespect. Can you imagine the ARL treating the Kangaroos coach in the same manner?

I honestly think that with the right personnel changes in the NZRL top levels, he may change his stance. Having said that, he's not one to speak flippantly.