Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

League: Duo lack wow factor

David Kidwell. Photo / Getty Images
David Kidwell. Photo / Getty Images

The new Warriors coach(es) should be confirmed this week - but there is no sign of the "marquee coach" that CEO Wayne Scurrah suggested just over six weeks ago, in the aftermath of Brian McClennan's exit.

The Herald on Sunday understands that David Kidwell stands ready as the eighth coach of the Auckland franchise, with Matthew Elliott alongside him in a football manager role.

While both men apparently impressed during the extended interview process, it is hard to believe they were the first choice of the Warriors. Elliott's name has been in the frame for some time now but two days before the grand final, at an NRL function, he apparently told friends he was keen on the job but hadn't heard from the Warriors "in a while".

It is believed that the Warriors still have hopes of Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy crossing the Tasman but that door seems to be almost shut.

It is understood detail of the contracts of Kidwell and Elliott are being worked on. Their appointment seems certain to be announced this week - if there is no last-minute levering of Bellamy out of his Melbourne stronghold.

Prising Bellamy away from the Storm is unfortunately not just a matter of money. The club is owned by News Ltd and there are vested interests all across the sport in ensuring that the Melbourne franchise continues to succeed and make some league inroads into the AFL heartland. There is also talk that the Storm could be put up for sale at some stage. A Bellamy exit would drastically affect the market price.

As an illustration of what is at stake, Storm owner Rupert Murdoch apparently flew into Melbourne on the Tuesday before the grand final for a private meeting with Bellamy at Storm headquarters.

While Owen Glenn has deep pockets, Murdoch is in another league when it comes to money, power and influence.

It had been hoped that Bellamy might be ready for a new challenge, after finally winning a grand final "legally" - i.e. under the salary cap. There is also the thought Bellamy may want to move on at some stage in the near future as he doesn't want to be the coach who has to send Billy Slater (29), Cameron Smith (29) or Cooper Cronk (28) out to pasture in coming years.

The Storm will struggle to match the Warriors' massive offer but an upgraded deal for 2013 plus a lucrative contract for subsequent seasons should see Bellamy pocket somewhere close to the reported A$4 million ($5 million) that he might have earned in Auckland. He would have been worth every cent, as the man nicknamed "Bellyache" would help to attract players to the club.

Meanwhile, there has continued to be widespread interest in the Warriors' job, with several new applications arriving last week. They weren't considered but the CEO has plenty of other business on his plate.

The future of assistant Tony Iro and head strength and conditioning coach Craig Walker need to be decided, along with other football operations people, some of whom have contracts that expire at the end of this month. Rumours also persist that former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe, who has been involved in the interview process as an adviser to Scurrah, could be offered a position.

Scurrah also confirmed that the club is still on the hunt for new players for 2013 but that has been delayed with the lengthy process around the coaching position. The new coach will have his own ideas on possible targets.

Scurrah has also recently completed extensive one-on-one debriefs with every member of the NRL squad, looking at the issues that arose from the dismal season this year.

He would usually conduct interviews with the senior players and group sessions with the remainder but the club's awful second half of the season prompted a wider approach.

- Herald on Sunday

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