Kangaroos losses spur succession plans

The Kangaroos recent poor record and a desire to reinvigorate the pathway to the Australian side are behind moves to appoint a stand-alone coach to the national team.

Mal Meninga is the favourite to be appointed as Tim Sheens’ successor as the new Kangaroos mentor and he will take over the team at a time of significant change.

Several of the side’s mainstays such as Cameron Smith, Paul Gallen and Johnathan Thurston are reaching the end of their careers.

The ARL Commission has announced that only a stand-alone coach will be appointed to the role, eliminating the likes of Brisbane’s Wayne Bennett and Melbourne’s Craig Bellamy from the running.

Geoff Toovey and Ivan Cleary are two potential candidates with no club ties.

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said the growth of the international games has brought different imperatives the new coach needs to address.

“The Australians want to win the World Cup and they want to win the Four Nations but there have been some disappointing performances over the past few years,” Greenberg said.

“In order to have great performances you have to make sure you have good resourcing and you have the best people – a dedicated coach that will focus primarily on the national team and the structures below the Kangaroos such as the Australian schoolboys and those really important programs.

“It speaks volumes for where we see the international game.”

Greenberg said the new coach needed to have the national side as his No.1 priority.

“One of the most important aspects is that it is independent from clubs and states, he will be dedicated to the national role,” Greenberg said.

“Working in a club consumes you for a big part of time and we want someone dedicated and focused on the national team.

“Not just for today but for tomorrow and making sure we have succession plans in place for our players.

“We are very proud of our Australian team and we want to make sure we have success in the future.”

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