New Zealand Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire has identified one target to be his right hand man at this year's Rugby League World Cup, although he certainly won't rush the former player's development.

Maguire rescued Benji Marshall's international career in 2019, handing him a mid-year lifeline to return to the black-and-white fray after a six year absence, and looks set to repeat the gesture.

Marshall has signed a deal to assistant coach the Wests Tigers for 2023 and 2024, before taking the reins from Tim Sheens in the lead up to the 2025 season.

While his coaching career has a bright future on the horizon, it still remains in its infancy in the present day, enough to give 'Madge' second thoughts over his potential hiring.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 10: Head coach Michael Maguire of the New Zealand Kiwis speaks to the media during the New Zealand Kiwis head coach announcement at New Zealand Rugby League House on May 10, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Despite recently quitting his roles with Fox Sports and Triple M to begin assistant coaching, Maguire would prefer to see Marshall establish himself at club land before taking the World Cup gig.

“Benji has been busy with his media stuff and only just committed [to coaching], so I think he will be fairly busy getting his thoughts around his role and how he wants to do his coaching when he gets into club land," Maguire told

“I don’t think it’s got a timeline on it, I think it’s just for him to be comfortable with what he’s doing.

“Everyone progresses at a different speed. Players that played at his level, there’s a lot of knowledge in place already and you tend, as a senior player, to do a fair bit of coaching as you get to the back end of your career.

“So all that sort of knowledge will play a part in the progression.”

While it would benefit the team's culture to have an experience, respected ex-player in the fold, Maguire appears to have casted his net further than just the former Wests Tigers five-eighth.
“I see ‘Blairy’ (Adam Blair) as a real potential moving forward. He is on the selection panel for the Kiwis and he is doing a lot of coaching on the ground in New Zealand, so I think he will find himself as a coach at an organisation in the future."
Maguire will make a call on coaching staff in the coming weeks, with the World Cup opener scheduled for less than nine weeks away, it appears the clock is working against Marshall for the campaign.