Wests Tigers Head Coach Michael Maguire says Panthers flyer current New Zealand Kiwis captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is a player he has a “very high opinion” of but said any chance of a potential signing would just have to wait and see.
Holding a close connection with Watene-Zelezniak following their time together with the Kiwi national side, Maguire said the 23-year-old would play an integral role with New Zealand going forward, but didn’t want to be drawn in to commenting on his involvement at club level — particularly in relation to a potential move.
“There has been a bit of talk in the news,” said Maguire.
"I wouldn’t have a clue on it all at the moment but he’s definitely a player I’d love to have in my ranks. At the moment, everything is just being worked through with himself and his manager — we’ll just have to wait and see.
“He’s a player that many people want and once he gets his football back to where he can play, he’s going to be a quality player."
Having made the young flyer captain of the New Zealand national side at just 23 years of age, Maguire said he clearly had a high opinion of Watene-Zelenziak and was confident he would remain a key part of the Kiwis plans going forward.
“I think how he responds [to all of this] will be the key for him,” Maguire said.
"It’s something, at some stage throughout your career, players face those things and it’s about how you deal with it. I’ve got a very high opinion of him — I obviously had him as captain of the Kiwi team, which is something I hold in very high regard.
"He was fantastic for us on tour and he will be moving forward with what we do at the Kiwis. I’ll talk to him about that and to the selectors around where he’s at.
"We’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right thing by the player as well so they’re in a good mental and physical state before you go for a game like the Tonga one. That’s a huge game and a really important one for us from a Kiwi point of view.
“I’ll talk to him as we get closer to that, but he’ll be in and around that squad.”