NRL: Kiwis to make coaching history

Warriors coach Brian McClennan. Photo / Getty Images.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan. Photo / Getty Images.

Coaching history will be made in Monday night's second-round NRL encounter between the Warriors and the Eels at Parramatta Stadium.

When the Australian competition's 105th season started last week, it did so with two Kiwis in charge of clubs in the same year for the first time.

And in just the second week of the season there will be an even more significant moment in history when those two head coaches - the Warriors' Brian McClennan and Parramatta's Stephen Kearney - provide the first instance of New Zealand coaches squaring off against each other in a first-grade match.

The two combatants have previously distinguished themselves as the only Kiwi coaches in history to win major international silverware.

McClennan guided the Kiwis to their breakthrough triumph against Australia in the 2005 Tri Nations final, while Kearney coached the New Zealand side to its first World Cup win in 2008 and followed that with success in the Four Nations final in 2010.

Coincidentally, Kearney and McClennan both made their debuts as first-grade coaches at Eden Park - Kearney when he guided Parramatta there against the Warriors last year and McClennan leading the Warriors against Manly last Sunday.

Kearney is only the third New Zealander after Bill Kelly and Graham Lowe to coach Australian-based clubs in the competition.

McClennan is the fourth New Zealander to guide the Warriors after Frank Endacott (1997-1998), Mark Graham (1999-2000) and Tony Kemp. (2004-2005)

- APNZ

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