Re­build­ing Ki­wis on up­ward path

Bromwich says a win on Mon­day morn­ing is vi­tal for new group

Whanganui Chronicle - - Sport - League Ali­cia New­ton — nrl.com

Jesse Bromwich is adamant New Zealand Rugby League is back on track de­spite re­sults not go­ing the Ki­wis’ way in their three-match test tour of the UK.

The Ki­wis have un­der­gone a re­build un­der Michael Maguire’s coach­ing af­ter their worst World Cup re­sult in his­tory less than 12 months ago.

Af­ter let­ting a lead slip late to lose by 18 to Eng­land in high-al­ti­tude Den­ver mid­way through the sea­son, Bromwich said the side has com­peted strongly in each match in the UK and, at times, has been on top of Eng­land, only to fall by two and six points re­spec­tively in the past two matches.

De­spite three losses to Eng­land in 2018, the close­ness of the last two de­feats and big scalp against Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber con­tin­ues to keep the Ki­wis mo­ti­vated go­ing into their fi­nal game of the year.

“I think we’re def­i­nitely head­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” Bromwich said.

“Madge [Maguire] is do­ing a great job and all the staff is work­ing over­time to try and get us pre­pared as best we can.

“It’s a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment at the mo­ment and some­thing I’ve en­joyed. We haven’t got the re­sults but we’ve put the ef­fort in and hope­fully that’s just around the cor­ner.”

The nar­row losses in the UK have added frus­tra­tion to an evolv­ing team, but the signs of de­vel­op­ment are there af­ter a chang­ing of the guard.

The test re­tire­ments of Si­mon Man­ner­ing, Rus­sell Packer, Ben Mat­ulino and Thomas Leu­luai came within 12 months, while in­juries to Roger Tuiv­asa-Sheck, Is­sac Luke and Nel­son Asofa-Solomona haven’t helped New Zealand’s cause.

Nine play­ers in the squad have played six tests or fewer.

“It’s been tough, we’ve pre­pared well and the camp has been awe­some, ev­ery­one is lov­ing each other’s com­pany,” Bromwich said.

“A win this week would boost morale around the place, we don’t want to go home with a clean sweep.

“We’ve been there, we’ve put in a lot of ef­fort which is a credit to the boys but have just been do­ing silly things.

“Last week we had six er­rors in the back end of the sec­ond half which is tough, you’re never go­ing to win a foot­ball game giv­ing away that much pos­ses­sion.

“If we fix that up we’ll be a lot bet­ter team.”

Eng­land coach Wayne Ben­nett com­mended the Ki­wis’ or­gan­i­sa­tion for the turn­around af­ter last year’s strug­gles.

“They’re a qual­ity team, I coach against th­ese guys at NRL level ev­ery week so know what they bring,” Ben­nett said. “They’ve been com­pet­i­tive. [Maguire’s] good at what he does, we’ve just been good enough to stand up to them.”

■ Third test, Ki­wis ver­sus Eng­land, El­land Road, Leeds. Mon­day, cov­er­age from 4am.

PHOTO / PHOTOSPORT

Jesse Bromwich (left) and Ki­wis team­mate Peta Hiku head out for a train­ing run ahead of Mon­day morn­ing’s test.

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