NRL supercoach Wayne Bennett has made a shock decision in regards to his future as a coach as he has formally applied for a new coaching job.

As the hunt for Michael Maguire's successor as New Zealand coach has gotten underway, News Corp has revealed that The Dolphins coach has formally applied for the international coaching job.

Contending with the likes of Nathan Cayless and Stacey Jones, the publication also revealed that Bennett is the number one contender to be given the reigns as the new Kiwis coach.

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) Chief Executive Greg Peters has also confirmed that he will be short-listed for a formal interview with the board as they attempt to confirm Maguire's successor by the end of next month.

“I've expressed interest in the (New Zealand) job, yes,” Bennett told News Corp.

“I've spoken to the NZRL and I'm waiting for them to come back to me.

“This doesn't mean I've got the job, there will be other applicants, but the point is I have expressed interest, the NZRL know that and they have a process going on, so I'm sure they will get back to me at some stage.

“I am waiting to see where it goes. I have been in contact with a guy to make it known I'm keen on the Kiwi job and let's see what happens.

“I love a challenge.”

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During his 36-year coaching career, the 74-year-old has previously coached at the international level for Australia and England, as well as the Kiwis in 2007.

Unfortunately, his tenure for New Zealand only saw him win two out of six games with a winning percentage of 33 per cent - a fact that many would easily forget.

He coached the Kangaroos in two separate stints - 1998 and 2004-05 - and won 12 out of a possible 16 games. His time as England's coach saw him with a winning percentage of 67 per cent after taking control of the team from 2016-20.

Currently unemployed for 2025, a contract between Bennett and New Zealand would see him remain as a coach for another two years as he would lead the nation into the 2026 Rugby League World Cup.

“We are certainly interested in talking to Wayne, as well as a number of other candidates who have put their name down through the advertised process we ran,” Greg Peters added.

“We have to finalise that in the next few weeks we hope.

“I haven't spoken to Wayne personally, yet. We're in the application process and we're going through an interview panel stage shortly.

“But we certainly know Wayne's interest in the organisation so we're looking forward to talking to him.

“We think the New Zealand job is a prestigious gig in football and with the success we've had in recent times, we need to build on that, so it's critical for us to get the right person to take us to the next level and ultimately a World Cup in 2026.

“We'll look at a number of candidates before we make a final decision.

“I would like to conclude it by the end of February. We have the luxury of time because we don't play until October. We are conscious of getting our coach in place before we get too deep into the NRL season.”