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Green turns down Kiwis assistant role

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/05/2017 Angelo Risso

Cowboys boss Paul Green has knocked back David Kidwell's offer to become Kiwis assistant coach for this year's Rugby League World Cup.

Kidwell and the New Zealand Rugby League are currently seeking a second experienced assistant after recruiting ex-England boss Steve McNamara in March.

They also made an attempt to bring Green on board at that time, hoping he could provide the inside scoop on Cowboys and Kangaroos playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

But the 2015 Premiership winner has rebuffed New Zealand's approach.

The move would've mirrored that of 2008, when the Kiwis brought in Wayne Bennett to guide then-rookie coach Stephen Kearney to a shock title.

Kidwell told reporters he'll continue to look for a second assistant, and that he's sounded out several still-unnamed options since March.

"Paul Green has made himself unavailable," Kidwell said.

"He was one of the candidates that I reached out to, and there's a couple more I'm in the process of (talking to)."

The Kiwis' limp Anzac Test loss and the subsequent furore around Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor's alleged post-Test cocaine use have thrown the side's World Cup credentials into doubt, despite a strong playing group and home advantage.

Kidwell acknowledged the issue, saying the only way his Test side could dispel doubts was to perform on the field and behave off it.

Their campaign begins on October 28 against Pacific foes Samoa in Auckland, before additional pool matches against Scotland and Tonga.

They'll be the side's first Tests on home soil since 2014, and Kidwell will name the captain to lead the Kiwis for their Cup campaign on Sunday morning.

"There's a long way to go to make sure we win that (Samoa) game and to do the right things off the field with the community, win back some of that Kiwi public," Kidwell said.

"They're rugby league fans, they love rugby league, they want to see the best players out there playing with passion and heart."

Ex-captain Bromwich and Proctor have both been dumped from the World Cup squad for their alleged cocaine use in Canberra, but Kidwell has kept the door slightly ajar for the pair to reintegrate into the Kiwis squad in 2018.

He intended to keep in close contact with both this year.

"These guys are really good men, they've made an out-of-character mistake, we've come to that decision and we'll move forward and concentrate on the World Cup, and deal with that after," Kidwell said.

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