NSW set to lock in coach as Maguire quits Kiwis

The NSW State of Origin side's Michael Maguire era is set to begin imminently after he became available for the coaching role by quitting his job in charge of the New Zealand national team.

But the Blues appear unlikely to confirm Maguire as Brad Fittler's successor until Saturday at the earliest.

"It is common knowledge that the NSWRL Board has been working through a process with Michael Maguire," a NSW Rugby League spokesperson said.

"As soon as the matter is finalised we will make a public announcement but until then, we will not be making further comment."

The coach was already tabled a one-year deal last month, with his ability to juggle the NSW and Kiwis jobs seemingly the only sticking point.

Maguire's position as Ricky Stuart's assistant coach at NRL side Canberra will not preclude him from taking over the Blues.

South Sydney's 2014 premiership-winning coach has been linked with the NSW job since October following a dearth of both clear options and interest from Blues old boys.

The 49-year-old had deferred any decisions about the mooted NSW position until after the Pacific Championships that New Zealand won in early November.

As recently as last month, Maguire had said guiding the Kiwis to victory at the 2025 World Cup had been his top priority.

But on Friday, the Kiwis confirmed Maguire had chosen to step down, only seven months after signing a contract extension to remain in charge through 2025.

"The mana, history and whakapapa associated with the black and white jersey mean any role in and around the Kiwi team is the ultimate privilege," said NZRL chief executive Greg Peters.

"Michael's dedication to the role and players has seen him achieve incredible things over the last six years.

"Michael is the ultimate professional and has connected deeply with the NZRL whanau and playing group. We wish him nothing but success in his next career step."

The one-year offer tabled by NSWRL is believed to come with changes to the structure of the job that had influenced Fittler's decision to quit after six series.

Formerly in charge of the Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers, Maguire would be the first man since Craig Bellamy to coach the Blues without ever having played for them.

In recent years, Queensland have found success with the opposite strategy, stacking their coaching staff with Maroons legends with limited NRL head-coaching experience.

Maguire won 12 of 18 Test matches as coach of the Kiwis, who appointed him following their worst-ever World Cup result -- a quarterfinal loss to Fiji in 2017.

His last match, a record-breaking 30-0 defeat of Australia in the Pacific Championships final, is likely to be remembered as his crowning achievement.