David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: Kidwell named as Kiwis assistant

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

David Kidwell has been confirmed as Kiwis assistant coach for the Four Nations campaign in November.

A former Junior Kiwis coach, Kidwell (37) will fill the Kiwis assistant role alongside head coach Stephen Kearney, through the remainder of this year and to the end of 2015.

"Obviously, I'm very excited and honoured to be part of the Kiwis again," said Kidwell. "The future looks bright for the team and I'm happy to be part of that.

"I've been coaching for five years now and think I've picked up a few really good things that I can bring to the Kiwis. I have a good sound knowledge of the game and I think I'm a pretty good people person, but I'm also good at getting my point across.

"A few of the guys from the Junior Kiwis are now in the Kiwis, so it'll be exciting to hook back up with them, having seen their progress through the NRL."

Born in Christchurch, the tough centre turned second-rower played 241 NRL first-grade games and 20 tests for New Zealand, culminating in success at the 2008 World Cup.

Kidwell joined the Wests Tigers coaching staff this year as Michael Potter's assistant, after three years working under Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm. Prior to that he coached the South Sydney Rabbitohs Under 20s side to the 2010 Toyota Cup final, before losing to the Warriors.

His defensive work with the Tigers has helped turn that team around from 7-17 strugglers last season to 8-7 playoff contenders so far this season.

The Kiwis assistant position has been vacant for some time after Andrew McFadden stepped down from the role in April, shortly after being appointed head coach at the Warriors.

The NZRL were unable to find a replacement before the annual Anzac Test in Sydney on May 2, and their focus then shifted to finding the right candidate before the Four Nations.

Kidwell had previously applied for the top Kiwis job when it was advertised earlier this year and is believed to have made the shortlist of contenders before Kearney was re-appointed.

"It's important we continue to develop our coaching depth at all levels, including the elite level," says NZRL football general manager Tony Iro.

"David has certainly shown his ability during his career to date and we like the idea of a Kiwi coaching staff guiding this team towards the next World Cup."

The NZ Kiwis kick off their Four Nations campaign against Australia in Brisbane on October 25, followed by Toa Samoa in Whangarei on November 1 and England in Dunedin on November 8.

The final is scheduled for Wellington on November 15.

- NZ Herald

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