NRL coach Michael Maguire.
Canberra have cleared the way for Michael Maguire to become the NSW State of Origin coach. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Maguire poised to take over as NSW Origin coach

Scott Bailey October 12, 2023

Michael Maguire is set to replace Brad Fittler as NSW State of Origin coach after being offered a one-year deal to take over the Blues from 2024.

The premiership-winning coach is yet to put pen to paper on a deal, but AAP has been told he has spoken to the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) board and is expected to take up the offer.

Currently serving as New Zealand’s Test coach and an assistant with Canberra, Maguire’s future in those roles will need to be determined.

NSW players after 2023's State of Origin II.
 Michael Maguire will bid to return NSW to winning ways after a disappointing State of Origin run. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

It is understood Canberra have given Maguire their blessing to take on the NSW job, although it remains to be seen if he would stay on with the Raiders.

In April, he signed an extension to remain coach of the Kiwis through to the end of 2025.

New Zealand Rugby League refused to comment on Thursday about Maguire’s future, with any decision unlikely until after the Pacific Championships finish next month.

Maguire could theoretically coach NSW and New Zealand as their seasons do not overlap, with the Blues’ offer running for five months from March to July.

It could create challenges around player eligibility, though, with NSW representatives ineligible to play for New Zealand.

Maguire had expressed his interest in becoming NSW coach in 2018, but lost out to Fittler.

Brad Fittler.
 Brad Fittler walked away as NSW coach after a disappointing 2023 State of Origin series. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS 

Fittler won three of his six series in charge, before walking away from the job late last month while off-contract and under intense pressure following a disappointing 2023 Origin series.

Laurie Daley and John Cartwright were other candidates. It remains to be seen if they will find a place on Maguire’s staff.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was also an option, before deciding it would be difficult to balance both jobs.

Maguire has coached 233 games in the NRL, winning a premiership with South Sydney in 2014 before taking over at the Wests Tigers in 2019.

Michael Maguire celebrates South Sydney's 2014 premiership.
 Michael Maguire coached South Sydney to the NRL premiership in 2014. Image by Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS 

When he was axed by the struggling joint-venture midway through last year there were fears his time as a head coach was over.

But there is a belief Maguire’s reputation as an intense mentor will suit the State of Origin arena, where camps come in short, sharp bursts.

NSWRL officials are hopeful Maguire will formalise a deal in the near future, but there are potential hold ups with the 49-year-old in New Zealand on duty with the Kiwis.