sport

Morrison in New Zealand frame

Glenn Morrison, currently coaching Championship club Dewsbury, is a shock contender for the vacant position of New Zealand head coach.

The 37-year-old Australian - a former Bradford and Wakefield forward - has thrown his hat into the ring for the role held up to the 2013 World Cup by Stephen Kearney and was on Tuesday night unveiled on a four-man short-list.

The NZ Rugby League say they received 14 enquiries before last Friday's deadline and the appointment panel will conduct interviews with the final four over the next week before coming up with a recommendation by mid-February.

Kearney, whose contract ended after the Kiwis lost to Australia in the World Cup final at Old Trafford on November 30, is also on the short-list, along with former New Zealand internationals Richie Blackmore and David Kidwell.

Morrison enjoyed a distinguished playing career with Balmain, North Sydney, North Queensland and Parramatta before moving to Super League in 2007. He spent three seasons with Bradford before finishing his career at Wakefield two years ago.

He is in his second season in charge of the Rams.

The Kiwis say the appointment process is running alongside a review of last year's World Cup campaign, which ended on a huge anti-climax with a resounding 34-2 defeat by the Kangaroos.

"We need to be clear that this process is not an indictment on Stephen Kearney's performance as coach over the past six years," said NZRL chief executive Phil Holden. "He has helped raise this programme to a higher level than it was when he arrived.

"But we were obliged to advertise this role once his contract expired and saw it as an opportunity to see who else was in the marketplace.

"It's also an opportunity to scope out a succession plan - who can we begin developing as future Kiwis coaches?"

The six-man selection panel consists of Holden, NZRL chairman Scott Carter, former Kiwi Iva Ropati, ex-Kiwis manager Ray Haffenden, high performance manager Tony Iro and high performance Sport NZ coaching consultant and world champion Black Sox softball coach Eddie Kohlhase.

The Kiwis' next fixture will be the annual Anzac Test against Australia on May 2.