NSW Blues

The NSW Rugby League Board today announced the appointment of premiership-winning NRL and Super League coach Michael Maguire, supported by a crew of highly-credentialled True Blue NRL staffers, to lead the Westpac NSW Blues in the 2024 Ampol State of Origin Series.

Maguire, 49, fresh from steering the New Zealand national team to an historic 30-0 Pacific Cup Final win over the Kangaroos this month, will become the 16th coach of the Blues following the end of Brad Fittler’s six-year tenure.

Maguire, has coached 303 First Grade games with Wigan (2010-2011), South Sydney (2012-17) and Wests Tigers (2019-22), winning the 2010 Super League title, 2011 Challenge Cup, and 2014 NRL premiership with the Rabbitohs.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden made the announcement today at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence, also revealing that Maguire’s High Performance team will include John Cartwright (Broncos), Matt King (Roosters), and Brett White (Titans), who are all premiership-winning players, True Blues and current NRL assistant coaches.

Highly respected Melbourne Storm Football Manager Frank Ponissi will be the Blues Team Performance Manager, with other appointments including Andrew Gray (Physical Performance Manager) and Sean Edwards (Strength and Conditioning), who also have extensive NRL club experience.

Trodden said: “On behalf of the NSWRL Chairman Paul Conlon and the Board, it gives me great pleasure to announce Michael Maguire has agreed to a multi-year appointment as the head coach of the Westpac NSW Blues, starting from 2024.

“In recent years we have been blessed with the stability of long-term coaching tenures with Brad Fittler, Laurie Daley and Ricky Stuart and we are looking forward to this engagement following the same pattern.

“We all have expectations of immediate success in 2024 together with the opportunity to build a structure that will provide for sustained long-term success.”

Trodden said the NSWRL Board is equally proud to announce that Michael will lead a High Performance staff that is very familiar with the True Blue culture, as well as having current experience at multiple high-performing NRL clubs.

“Michael is a multiple premiership-winning coach in two hemispheres and has been successful in the international arena as head coach of the New Zealand team,” he said.

“Together with Michael’s recent experience at the Raiders, they all bring strong current NRL experience to the Blues as assistant coaches – with John working alongside Kevin Walters at the Broncos, Matt with Trent Robinson at the Roosters, and Brett with Des Hasler at the Titans.

“Along with Frank Ponissi’s involvement with the Storm, we now have a High Performance team that is not only impeccably credentialled but also has the breadth and depth of current experience across four NRL clubs.”

Maguire said he is extremely humbled and excited about the opportunity and is keen to turn his focus to the challenge of preparing for his first State of Origin series.

“The Blues jersey is everything and we will ensure that we foster an environment that allows everyone to perform at their very best. Leadership and culture will be critical to do this,” he said.

“Just as important will be bringing everyone along the journey with us, and by that I literally mean everyone, from the front office to the volunteer in Bourke and the thousands of junior footy players who idolise the Blues and are passionate about Origin.

“Everyone has a part to play and I want everyone across the state to feel a part of the Blues Origin campaign.”

Maguire and his High Performance staff will come together in the near future to start planning, with a Blues camp set for February.

HIGH PERFORMANCE COACHING STAFF BIOS

Michael Maguire

– 303 First Grade games as Head Coach – Wigan Warriors in Super League (2010-2011), South Sydney Rabbitohs (2012-17), Wests Tigers (2019-22)

– 18 international Tests as Head Coach – New Zealand (2018-23)

– As coach, won 2010 Super League title, 2011 Challenge Cup, 2014 NRL premiership (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

– Played 18 First Grade games – 13 with Canberra Raiders (1992-96), 5 with Adelaide Rams (1998)

John Cartwright

– Currently assistant coach at the Brisbane Broncos (since 2020)

– 186 First Grade games as Head Coach – Gold Coast Titans (2007-14)

– Stints as an assistant at other clubs including the North Queensland Cowboys, winning the 2015 NRL premiership

– Played 200 First Grade games – 186 with Penrith Panthers (1985-96), 14 with Salford Red Devils in Super League (1997)

– Played 8 games for NSW (1989-92), 18 for Australia (1980-82)

Matt King

– Currently on coaching staff at the Sydney Roosters (since 2022)

– Played 220 First Grade games – 91 with Melbourne Storm (2003-07), 106 with Warrington Wolves in Super League (2008-11), 23 with South Sydney Rabbitohs (2012-13)

– Played 9 games for NSW (2005-07), 10 for Australia (2005-07)

 

Brett White

– Currently on coaching staff at the Gold Coast Titans (since 2023), previously with Canberra Raiders (2022)

– Played 196 First Grade games – 127 with Melbourne Storm (2005-10), 69 with Canberra Raiders (2011-14)

– Played 8 games for NSW (2007-10), 3 for Australia (2009), 3 for Ireland (2013)