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Scott Bailey

Meninga backs Maguire to juggle NSW, Kiwi coaching jobs

Michael Maguire's (pictured) bid to become NSW State of Origin coach has been backed by Mal Meninga. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Mal Meninga has backed Michael Maguire to be able to juggle the NSW and New Zealand head-coaching roles if he was to take on both jobs in 2024.

Maguire dodged questions around his coaching future on Friday, but is expected to consider his options after New Zealand's Pacific Cup final against Australia on Saturday in Hamilton.

The clear No.1 candidate for the Blues State of Origin job, Maguire has spoken with the NSW Rugby League board about replacing Brad Fittler on a one-year deal.

The Kiwis coach could hold both roles at the same time, with no overlap in fixtures in the current representative calendar.

That would likely require the approval of the New Zealand Rugby League, who will not declare their position until after the Pacific Cup final.

If push comes to shove, Maguire has stated the Kiwis remain his priority.

Meninga believes his former Canberra teammate and current Kiwis adversary could hold both roles.

The Kangaroos coach is the most successful mentor in Origin history, having led Queensland to nine series victories between 2006 and 2015 before taking on the Australian role.

"He's a great man Madge," Meninga said on Friday.

"If given the job he would do a really terrific job.

"He's a great representative coach as well, he'll bring the best out of those fellas."

Maguire also has his role as Canberra assistant coach to weigh up, given the challenge of holding all three positions at once.

Whether or not Maguire takes on the NSW role, Meninga believes he has unearthed a Blue for next season in Dylan Edwards.

Called into the Kangaroos squad for the Pacific Cup following Josh Addo-Carr's late suspension, Edwards has held his spot on the wing for Saturday's final.

Long-considered the best player in the NRL not to have featured in representative football, Edwards has been stuck behind Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco for Origin selection throughout his club side Penrith's domestic dominance.

But Meninga has seen enough at international level to believe Edwards could be a threat on the wing for the Blues.

"He deserves to be there," Meninga said.

"Dylan's a great fella, and he's a highly intelligent player. He did start his career on the wing for Penrith, and he's handled (the positional switch) really well.

"His footy IQ is enormous, (he's) great under the high ball and his kick reception work, which he does at fullback anyway, is really good and really strong.

"He's got a good sense, defensively, so he's done really well on our left wing."

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