Coaches in the firing line: Maguire and Brown lose NRL jobs

·2-min read

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Michael Maguire’s exit from the West Tigers was confirmed hours after the New Zealand Warriors announced Nathan Brown’s departure on Tuesday in a bad day for head coaches in the National Rugby League.

Maguire and Brown join Trent Barrett, who quit as Canterbury’s head coach last month, among the coaching casualties in the first half of the season in Australia’s top-flight competition. It means three of the four clubs at the bottom of the standings have interim coaches in place.

Brett Kimmorley will take over from Maguire, who was in his fourth season at the Tigers. Maguire, who guided South Sydney in 2014 to its first top-flight title in 43 years, will remain head coach of New Zealand’s national team.

West Tigers were in 13th place in the 16-team competition with three wins from 12 games, narrowly ahead of the Warriors. Canterbury is still in last place.

The Warriors issued a statement earlier to confirm former New Zealand international halfback Stacey Jones had been appointed on an interim basis to replace Brown, who agreed to leave halfway through a three-year contract.

The club has been temporarily based in Australia because of COVID-19 travel difficulties but is preparing to play its first NRL game back in New Zealand in more than 1,000 days when it takes on West Tigers at Auckland on July 3.

Brown, who worked previously as head coach at St. George-Illawarra and Newcastle in the NRL and at Huddersfield and St. Helens in the English Super League, had informed the Warriors he couldn’t relocate long-term to New Zealand.

The Warriors are on a five-match losing streak and have four wins from 13 games this season.

“Given those circumstances we agreed we needed to make an immediate change,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said in a statement. “It’s tough for everyone involved but, in the best interests of the club, we felt we had to go in a different direction now.”

Jones played more than 250 games for the Warriors and 48 international matches for New Zealand.

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