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Kearney supports Kidwell's tough NZ stance

NZN 11/05/2017

Former Kiwis boss Stephen Kearney has backed successor David Kidwell's decision to rule Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor out of this year's Rugby League World Cup, saying standards must be upheld.

The Kiwis pair allegedly consumed cocaine outside a Canberra nightclub after last Friday's limp Anzac Test loss to Australia.

Captain Bromwich was demoted from his leadership role, hit with a two-game NRL ban by Melbourne and forced to donate his Test match fee to charity.

Proctor, meanwhile, was slugged with a four-match NRL ban by the Titans and has stepped down from the club's co-captaincy.

They will both also be omitted from this year's World Cup squad, despite their status as Test stalwarts.

Warriors coach Kearney, who led New Zealand until late last year and gave both players their international debut, supported Kidwell's harsh stance, despite the impact on the Kiwis' World Cup hopes.

"All rugby league people were pretty disappointed in their actions over the weekend (and) I think, for David, he needed to set a standard," Kearney said.

"If I was in his position, I would've no doubt made the same decision.

"That's a situation that surprised me, at that level - very surprised."

Reinstated five-eighth Kieran Foran defended the pair's character, saying they were good men and shouldn't be judged on one poor decision.

But he too stood behind Kidwell in barring them from the World Cup, backing the likes of Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to assume the captaincy.

"I'm not going to judge them on what they've done - hopefully they can put that behind them and learn from it, and come back bigger and better," Foran said.

"I'm sure they're disappointed in what they've done and are embarrassed."

Proctor's loss may be Bodene Thompson's gain as a spot in New Zealand's second row opens up.

The Warriors man, who worked with Kidwell at the Tigers, says he will do all he could to earn a maiden Kiwis cap but wouldn't get ahead of himself.

He has made nine NRL appearances in 2017, scoring three tries and averaging almost 30 tackles a game.

"I've just got to make sure I do the job here first, and all that stuff will just take care of itself," Thompson said.

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