Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Rugby league: How to solve the Kidwell conundrum

David Kidwell and Simon Mannering after the Kiwis' defeat to the Kangaroos. Photo / photosport.nz
David Kidwell and Simon Mannering after the Kiwis' defeat to the Kangaroos. Photo / photosport.nz

Should he stay or should he go? Kiwis coach David Kidwell is under the microscope like never before. Michael Burgess examines both sides.

The case for retention

1) Kidwell is signed to a long term contract so removing him now would be costly for the cash strapped New Zealand Rugby League.

2) If the NZRL are fixed on having a New Zealander as Kiwis coach, there aren't many other experienced options.

3) The Rugby League World Cup is less than six months away, which is never an ideal time to make a change.

4) Kidwell has faced Australia, who are currently in a different class to anyone else on the planet at the moment, in four of his six tests in charge. Games against Samoa, Tonga and Scotland at the World Cup will allow some precious time to build combinations and confidence.

The case for dismissal

1) After this year, New Zealand won't host another World Cup for at least 12 years. It's a wonderful opportunity for the sport and the Kiwis need the best possible person as head coach. Based on the available evidence, there must be serious questions that Kidwell is that man.

2) The Kiwis are blessed with a golden generation of talent at the moment, but Kidwell seems unable to get the best out of them.

3) The gulf between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis appears to be widening.

3) Change at the last minute has worked before, with Stephen Kearney replacing Gary Kemble as Kiwis coach in 2008, less than 10 months out from the World Cup.

- NZ Herald

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