England have lost their 'super coach' - but that could spell bad news for the Kiwis at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The decision to jettison Wayne Bennett wasn't entirely unexpected, given the awful results on the Great Britain League Lions tour last year, and the Australian has been replaced by former Wigan mentor Shaun Wane.
The Lions, on their first tour for 12 years, lost to Tonga and Papua New Guinea (both firsts) and also dropped the series against the Kiwis 0-2, though the opening test at Eden Park was tight.
But there was a nagging school of thought that the Rugby Football League would take the conservative approach and retain Bennett, with the World Cup on home soil less than two years away, and he had his supporters behind the scenes, including RFL high performance director Kevin Sinfield.
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But Bennett had probably done all he could with the team, and Wane's appointment will strengthen England, at least in the medium term.
The 70-year-old Bennett remains a wonderful coach, illustrated by taking England to the 2017 World Cup final, where they pushed a superb Kangaroos team to the limit.
But juggling his Rabbitohs' role with the England job must have been getting more difficult every year, as the demands on NRL coaches are constantly increasing.
Michael Maguire has managed it well with the Kiwis and Wests Tigers so far, but that is a much easier balance, hopping across the ditch and solely monitoring players in the NRL.
Bennett had to keep tabs on Super League, as well as make trips to the northern hemisphere and some of his recent selections were highly questionable, particularly on the Lions tour.
He also endured an increasingly fractious relationship with the English media, and that's the kind of thing that can filter down to the players, even if it is often denied.
The appointment of Wane has several benefits for England. He'd be solely focussed on the national side, and is also based there.
While the epicentre of the sport is the NRL, England have the ability to produce a strong core of players out of Super League, to complement their men down under.
And that's the key to any good England team; blending the talent from the two competitions, and finding the right men to mix with their Australian-based stars.
Wane, who won three Super League titles and a World Club Championship with Wigan, will bring an uncompromising approach and a track record of getting the best out of local talent.
If he can unlock that, and develop the culture of the squad, he should mould England into a formidable force on home soil next year, considerably stronger than they would have been under Bennett.
It will mean a tough task for the Kiwis.
Australia will be as powerful as ever, while Tonga, assuming they continue their recent rise, will also be a force, albeit without their magnificent red army of support.
But a unified England adds another layer of difficulty, and the Kiwis have a particularly poor record in England, especially against the hosts.