The Junior Kiwis doing their haka before last year's clash against the Junior Kangaroos in Townsville. They'll have a new coaching team for their 2013 encounter with the Australians on October 13. Photo: Photosport


Auckland Vulcans assistant coach Brent Gemmell and Vodafone Junior Warriors assistant coach Kelvin Wright have been appointed to guide the Junior Kiwis in a one-off clash against the Junior Kangaroos at WIN Jubilee Oval in Kogarah, Sydney, on Sunday, October 13.


Gemmell has an extensive background in domestic rugby league having coached the NZ Residents team for the last two years, guided the Auckland Pride (now Akarana Falcons) to two National Premiership titles and twice won Aucklands Fox Memorial with Mt Albert. Hed earlier won a Bartercard Cup with the Auckland Lions and coached junior rugby league in both Bay of Plenty and Northland.


Gemmell takes over as Junior Kiwis coach from John Ackland, following Acklands decision to join the NZRL in the full-time role of National Game Development Manager after he finishes his commitments with the Vodafone Junior Warriors.


Wright, who will be Gemmells assistant coach, has previously coached the Bay Roskill Vikings in the Auckland club competition. Wright finished playing only a few years ago, having represented the NZ Residents and various Auckland teams. He also captained Mt Albert to two Fox Memorial championships when coached by Gemmell.


Other Junior Kiwis appointments confirmed today Andy Flint, the Auckland Vulcans head trainer, as trainer and John Love as physiotherapist. Love is in his third year working with the Junior Warriors and will also support the Kiwis during their Rugby League World Cup campaign later this year.


The first group of players was today named in a Junior Kiwis train-on. Among those named were the sons of two former national captains Matt McGahan (son of ex-Kiwi captain Hugh McGahan) and Cade Umaga (son of ex-All Black captain Tana Umaga). It has been quite a week for Umaga senior after he coached Counties Manukau to its first successful Ranfurly Shield challenge in history.


2013 JUNIOR KIWIS TRAIN-ON SQUAD (at September 11):


Cronulla Sharks: Faamanu Brown, Valentine Holmes

Gold Coast Titans: Jahrome Hughes

Melbourne Storm: Matt McGahan, Pride Pettersen-Robati, Cade Umaga

Newcastle Knights: Danny Levi, Joseph Tapine

Parramatta Eels: Zach Docker-Clay, Takai Moeakiola

Vodafone Warriors: Siliva Havili, Ngani Laumape


The Junior Kiwis selectors - John Ackland, Brent Gemmell, Mark Horo and Kelvin Wright, along with the convenor Tony Iro - will add to the squad in the coming weeks as teams are eliminated from the NRL and Holden Cup finals.