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Cowboys boss Green weighs up Kiwis role

NZN 15/03/2017

Queensland NRL greats have urged Cowboys boss Paul Green to join New Zealand's coaching staff for the Rugby League World Cup.

Green confirmed to The Courier Mail newspaper on Thursday that he has been approached by the New Zealand Rugby League for an assistant role, pitting him against his star club playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

Having collapsed in the 2013 World Cup final in England, the Kiwis are desperate to reclaim the title they won under Stephen Kearney in 2008.

Former England boss and Warriors attack guru Steve McNamara has been brought in as an assistant to boss David Kidwell, while Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson will serve as campaign manager.

The NZRL are open to bringing in a second assistant after May's Anzac Test in Canberra and see Green as the man for the job.

"I don't want to say too much but it would be great to be involved in the World Cup," Green said.

"No decision has been made at this stage."

Kangaroos boss Mal Meninga, whose side is likely to provide the firmest challenge to the Kiwis in November, believed Green should take on the role.

A number of Australians are coaching at foreign sides for the tournament, including Wayne Bennett at England and in tier-two countries including Samoa and Tonga.

"I believe that we get our best coaches, particularly World Cup year, and spread them around all the different nations that play," Meninga told Fox Sports.

Maroons great Justin Hodges said Green would be a massive boost to New Zealand's chances at the World Cup.

The North Queensland boss would give the Kiwis key insights into halting Thurston as he looks to end his international career on a high.

Hodges said Bennett had showed what Australian coaches could bring to Kiwi sides as an assistant in New Zealand's victorious 2008 tilt.

Kidwell, for his part, struggled in his tournament debut at last year's Four Nations and led the side to a dour 34-8 loss to Australia in the final.

He admitted on Tuesday that Kearney's departure on the eve of the tournament had created a leadership vacuum inside the Kiwis camp.

As a result, the NZRL have looked to place senior heads around Kidwell, freeing him to focus on team selection and performance.

"With the new structure moving forward, you're able to reflect more and have that time and space to have a look at things closely," Kidwell said.

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