New Zealand international coach Michael Maguire has claimed that the Kiwis' top seeding ahead of next year's World Cup will mean nothing unless the heroics of 2008 can be repeated.
While the Shaky Isles representatives held the world No.1 ranking prior to Covid-19 forcing the postponement of the showpiece event, Maguire suggested that a rise from within was required to truly justify the tag.
“The players are very proud of what they have been able to do up to this point, but we also know that they are going to be judged on every game and every performance,” he told NRL.com.
“We have got to make sure that we take that confidence and belief about what we have been doing to this point, but also know the challenges of going into a World Cup.
“You have got to be the best prepared, you have got to make sure that everything is in place so we can build right into that first game and play some very good footy.”
With the Kiwis having announced a bumper 38-man squad last month, the Wests Tigers' steward stated he was overjoyed with the bolstered stocks he would have at his disposal next year.
“When I first started as the coach of the Kiwis there was Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith coming through to establish their names in the Kiwi jersey, and I think they have had an enormous appetite now after the games that they have played,” Maguire continued.
“Every player aspires to play in a World Cup and as the coach of the Kiwis, and knowing the passion that the Kiwi boys have about the jersey and playing in a World Cup, it is great to know that it is back on and ready to go."
Given the delay in hosting the tournament, several fixturing shifts have been made prior the opening kick-off in October of next year.
For the Australians, their opening clash against Fiji that was originally slated to take place in Hull has now been sent to Leeds.
And for 'Madge's Kiwis, their second pool game against Jamaica will move to the venue vacated by the Kangaroos and the Bati.
NRL.com Senior Reporter Brad Walter has also claimed that the quarter-final that was first scheduled to take place at Anfield, home of Liverpool FC, will now be held in Wigan.
With these scheduling moves now set in stone, Maguire explained that it was now a matter of setting his side's mind on the job a full 12-months out from their shot at glory.
“Now we have got some dates set in stone we can start preparing for the tournament," he divulged.
“I know the boys are really keen to win a World Cup and be a part of something special like that. Australia have obviously won a number of World Cups over a period of time and New Zealand have got their single win, and they want to build on that.”
With the Kiwis currently seen as many bookies' second favourite option ahead of the tournament, if all things run to plan, Maguire could be set to face off against Mal Maninga and the Australians in the final scheduled to take place at Old Trafford on November 19.