Cooper Cronk is expecting his former Melbourne teammate and support coach David Kidwell to bring a new aggressive, passionate edge to the New Zealand rugby league team.
Kidwell won’t have had a month heading up the Kiwis when they take the field at nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday against the Kangaroos.
He took over the Kiwis coaching gig from new Warriors mentor Stephen Kearney on September 15.
But Cronk believes that is time enough for Kidwell to shape his team the way he wants.
“Coaches want to put their fingerprints on their football teams,” Cronk said
“You look at Mal, he played with a lot of pride and passion in his career and that is what he has brought to the Australian team as coach.
“David Kidwell is one of the most passionate New Zealanders with the aggression he brought to their football team, he will bring the same thing as coach.
“You can determine New Zealand’s strengths: (Jesse) Bromwich, (Jared) Waerea-Hargreaves, (Adam) Blair, (Jason) Taumalolo, (Kevin) Proctor, (Tohu) Harris all those guys are elite players in the NRL and they head up the New Zealand forward pack.
“On the back of that they allow (halfback Shaun) to do some special stuff.”
Probably the most indelible memory Kidwell has left league fans was his shoulder charge on Willie Mason, which left the Kangaroos prop with a black eye.
And Cronk said Kidwell will leave his mark as a coach with the Kiwis.
“I have played with David and I have been coached by David and one thing I do know is that he idolises New Zealand sport,” Cronk said.
“He is one very passionate Kiwi.
“You can see that in the way he speaks, in the way he played in that Kiwis jersey and the way he did the Haka during his playing career.
“So he is going to bring a dimension to that Kiwis team that not too many coaches have.”