Warriors have David Kidwell on coaching radar

Last updated 03:00 10/04/2014
David Kidwell
JONATHAN NG/Fairfax Australia
TO THE WARRIORS?: Wests Tigers assistant coach David Kidwell (right) oversees a training session alongside second-rower Adam Blair.

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Former Kiwis international David Kidwell has emerged as a front-runner to replace Matthew Elliott as coach of the New Zealand Warriors.

Kidwell, an assistant to Mick Potter at Wests Tigers, was on the shortlist for the Warriors role after Brian McClennan was punted in late 2012. However, he pulled out of negotiations after they dragged on past that year's NRL Grand Final where Kidwell was involved with the victorious Melbourne Storm team.

Elliott wasn't even on the radar of the trans-Tasman club at the time but requested an interview, where he convinced powerbrokers he was the man for the job.

However, he was sacked on Sunday just five rounds into the season and Kidwell - who unsuccessfully applied for the Kiwis head coaching job before incumbent Stephen Kearney was reappointed in February - has again emerged on the Warriors' radar.

"Contact has been made and we'd be silly not to look at all our options," said Kidwell's manager, Daniel O'Loughlin.

"David is really enjoying his role at Wests Tigers and is grateful for the opportunity. He is ambitious and is a head coach in waiting and we'll look at any opportunities that may arise.

"We respect the fact the Warriors have a very capable person doing the job now in Andrew McFadden and they need to support him, so we'll let the process take its place."

Former Dragons mentor Nathan Brown was touted as a potential successor to Elliott but has indicated he is happy to remain with Super League club St Helens.

It is understood Wigan coach Shaun Wane, who is close friends with Warriors football operations general manager Dean Bell, was sounded out about the role last year.

However, it's unclear whether he has any interest in a job in which four coaches have been churned through in as many years.

McFadden will see out the remainder of the season but would need to turn the fortunes of the trans-Tasman club around significantly to go from caretaker to permanent coach.

Kidwell, who enjoyed stints at Parramatta, Adelaide, the Roosters, Melbourne and South Sydney during a playing career in which he also represented New Zealand on 25 occasions, joined the Tigers staff in the off-season as a replacement for Steve Georgallis.

The 36-year-old cut his coaching teeth under Craig Bellamy at the Storm.

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In an interview with Fairfax Media last year, Bellamy predicted that Kidwell would go on to have a long and successful career as a head coach.

"Without a doubt," Bellamy said.

"He's only a young guy, Kiddy. I think he only had the one year coaching the Under-20s and he's come on to be my assistant. He's been there for three years.

"He's only a young coach but he's got a big future in the game. He obviously had a successful career. It doesn't mean you have to be a great NRL player to be a good coach, but that experience certainly helps. It helps you understand what players go through at times."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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