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The Kemble crisis - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Thu, 17 Jan 2008 06:24:00 GMT
Under siege New Zealand coach Gary Kemble retains the full support of the New Zealand Rugby League despite a second player joining the player mutiny.

One day after Kiwis captain Roy Asotasi claimed the former Tri-Nations champs declared they had no faith in Kemble, team-mate David Kidwell showed full support for that view.

Shortly before flying out to Florida with South Sydney to play the Leeds Rhinos who are coached by Kemble’s more successful predecessor Brian McLennan, Kidwell added:

‘We want to win the World Cup this year and the players haven’t got any confidence in Gary Kemble as the coach.’

Kemble however holds strong support amongst Australian fans whom are hoping he will remain in charge leading up to international rugby league’s biggest tournament.

Kidwell didn't completely wipe out the prospects of a competitive New Zealand side turning up to play in October.

Asked on New Zealand radio if the Kiwis were any hope of winning the World Cup with Kemble in charge, the Souths co-captain said ‘Yep.’

‘If Gary’s still coach and Wayne’s got a role in there, we’ll have to take that.’

Yet despite the public declaration that Bennett should run the show, NZRL Chairman Ray Haffenden remains adamant that the crisis is not a crisis.

‘They might say there’s 30 players involved. All I’m getting is the comment of one person, now two,’ Haffenden told the Daily Telegraph.

‘If they come to me with a page full of people that they say, “You’ve got it wrong Ray, 30 people have signed this….’, then I’ll listen to them.”

Kidwell believes those 30 other players won’t be hard to track down.

‘We’ve got the backing of all the senior guys here in Australia,’ he said.

‘You only have to ring and ask.’

‘Gary’s a great bloke and we’re not attacking his character or anything like that. But we’ve got a guy like Wayne Bennett waiting in the wings who wants to coach us.’

Meanwhile in another blow for NZRL ex-Kiwi star Nigel Vagana, who converted to Samoa last year, believes the crisis could cause others to defect.

This effectively would leave New Zealand with a paper thin squad.

Meanwhile Kemble isn’t backing down from his detractors;

‘David and Roy, I can speak to face to face. I won’t be afraid to do that.’

Haffenden has told the media that Bennett would almost certainly be appointed to a ‘mentor” role – but not head coach.

Bennett has yet to officially accept such a role.

Kemble – who is supporting Bennett’s appointment (obviously not as coach) - is in Australia to shore up support amongst players.

Finding some may be his biggest challenge. - Read More, Here