Welcome to the world of professional coaching.

For starters, two Australians lead the New Zealand and England league teams in Hull this weekend.

While foreign coaches are not uncommon on the global sporting landscape, the next part of the bizarre musical chairs scenario is somewhat unique.

The opening match of this three-test series, which kicks off tomorrow morning (NZT), has been largely overshadowed by the NRL coaching merry-go-round.


Neither Kiwis coach Michael Maguire, nor England mentor Wayne Bennett, were keen to address impending NRL moves at their team's respective captain's runs today.

Yet their refusal to front this issue can't mask the notion that, behind the scenes, both have been dealing with major distractions.

Those centre around four coaching changes. Bennett and Anthony Seibold are due to swap roles at Brisbane and Souths, at this stage in 2020, though that may well happen sooner.

Maguire, meanwhile, is said to have agreed to a three-year, $2.5 million deal with the Wests Tigers where he will replace former Warriors coach Ivan Clearly who is set to jump back to the Panthers and fulfill a desire to guide son Nathan.

Adding to the madness is the fact the Panthers sacked Cleary less than three years ago. Go figure.

For his part, Maguire did his best to batter away repeated probes about the Tigers, a club which features Kiwis centre Esan Masters and four former New Zealand test players.

"At the moment I'm pretty keen to just focus on this Kiwis game. All those sorts of things sort themselves out in time but this is a really important game for us, for New Zealand," Maguire said.

"My focus is definitely around what we need to do tomorrow.


"I don't read the papers too much so it's actually been good being away. I've really enjoyed being in camp. They're a great bunch of boys and it's really ignited the coaching part of it for myself.

"I'm looking forward to what we're doing here tomorrow, and I'm going to continually hold that line.

"I'm keen to see the boys back up what we did. That's what counts at this present moment. I've really seen a shift in the mindset of the group."

Eventually, Maguire admitted to being comfortable juggling a return to the NRL, after leading Souths to their first Premiership in 45 years during his last post, and the Kiwis where he is only two matches into a long-term vision.

"Definitely, yeah. Quite easy to be honest. I love coaching. I love the fact I'm a part of this group and I've been very fortunate that I've had a bit of downtime at the moment away from the coaching and I've been able to get some very good people in place.

"The NZRL have got some very strong people. The team around me is what makes the strength and it's going to make my job easier when I have to juggle around a few things."

Speaking to Australian media earlier in the day, Bennett confirmed his intention to remain at the Broncos next season before making the switch to Sydney.

"The Broncos made a decision that they don't want me there after 2019," Bennett said. "I'm a free agent so ethically it's 100 per cent right. I shouldn't have to justify [signing a year in advance] and don't feel I am. I'm getting on with my life. That's up to the Broncos; they've made all the decisions. It's another decision if they think it's not going to work."

Bennett was then at his blunt, economical best when asked about the move at the main test match press conference, his mood reflecting the bitterly cold northern climate.

"I addressed that earlier this morning so I'm not going to talk about it anymore. I'm here to talk about England, and if you don't want to talk about that, well, we'll move on. I'll just walk away."

Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson, who lines up inside the all-Wigan halves pairing of former Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins and George Williams, summed up the strange situation in matter-of-fact fashion.

"That's just sport in general whether it's football, rugby league or union there's always going to be changes at the end of the year," Hodgson said. "People make changes when they feel they need them. That's the business we're in, and that's the way it'll stay for a long time I imagine."

As far as this weekend goes, though, no distraction is a good distraction for anyone.