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3 days ago
Kiwi coach Gary Kemble said the game's best interests were the key consideration when he resigned from the coaching role on Saturday evening.
Kemble told senior New Zealand Rugby League officials of his decision when he met with them late Saturday afternoon after returning from a fact-finding trip to Sydney.
He sought opinions from players in the wake of claims by captain Roy Asotasi and experienced second rower David Kidwell that they and other senior players had no confidence in Kemble as Kiwi coach.
"I deliberately stayed away from making any comment about the situation during the week after what Roy and David had said," said Kemble.
"As a former Kiwi player I'd have to say it was very disappointing to see the way they handled the issue. They could have gone through other channels."
"After my trip to Sydney I believe I still had support from a number of players and I was keen to continue as Kiwi coach through to the World Cup later this year."
"But what matters to me most is the Kiwi jersey and the game itself. I want to see the Kiwis having the best possible chance of winning the World Cup and, to help make that possible, I've decided it's in New Zealand rugby league's best interests that I should step aside."
"Family considerations were also an important factor in reaching this decision. This whole business has been difficult for them and when it affects the people close to you, there's only one choice."
New Zealand Rugby League chairman Ray Haffenden was equally disappointed with the outcome.
"This hasn't been a good week for the game in this country," he said.
"As a board we weren't at all impressed with the conduct of the players in this matter. It wasn't appropriate or acceptable."
"We're disappointed Gary has resigned but we admire him for the courage he has shown in making this tough decision and also for the dignified way he has handled himself."
"Like Gary, we want what's best for the game and, if this helps us later in the year, we'll owe a great deal to Gary."
Haffenden said the NZRL would begin the process to find a new Kiwi coach as soon possible.