The New Zealand Warriors are expected to confirm rugby league’s worst-kept secret and will unveil Brian McClennan as their new head coach on Wednesday.
The former Kiwis and Leeds Rhinos coach has been the frontrunner from the moment Ivan Cleary confirmed he would take a job with the Penrith Panthers next year.
Having guided the Kiwis to glory in the 2005 Tri Nations and backed that up with two premierships during his three-year tenure with Leeds in the English Super League, McClennan is seen by Warriors insiders as the right man for the job.
He is also popular with New Zealand league fans, who are overwhelmingly in favour of him being given the reins at Mt Smart Stadium next year.
Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah refused to comment on the speculation yesterday other than to say his priority had been to sign “the best man for the job”.
McClennan couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday and has kept his head down throughout the process.
But on the day that Cleary announced at a press conference in Auckland his intention to stand down as Warriors coach a year before his contract ended, McClennan made it clear in an interview with Fairfax that he wanted to be Cleary’s replacement.
He will now get his wish.