Parramatta Eels prop Junior Paulo believes that Craig Bellamy could be the man to save the NSW Blues for the 2024 State of Origin series.

A member of the latest State of Origin series in the front row, Paulo has become a leader of the forward pack and will likely play a key part in next year's Origin series.

Paulo spoke on the idea of Bellamy coaching the NSW Blues in the 2024 State of Origin series - a position that will be a reported five-month deal - to replace Brad Fittler.

"There's a lot of guys, past players, who have put their hand up and have really excelled in that field of coaching," Paulo told Wide World of Sports.

"You know, there's a lot of standouts. Madge's (Michael Maguire's) name has been thrown up. Craig Bellamy, we've obviously seen how long he's been at the reins of Melbourne Storm and the success they've had.

"There's guys who have been there before and who are happy to put their hand up. So, yeah, it would be awesome to see someone in there.

"Look, I'm sure whoever steps into that role is going to be a proud New South Welshman and ready to win back that shield.

"Whoever it is, I'm sure all the boys will be pitting their best forward to be a part of that Blues squad again.

"It's always an honour to represent the sky blue. We just have to go back and play some good footy and see what happens in the next year."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy speaks to the media during a press conference at AAMI Park on June 9, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm coach has also earned the backing of former NSW Blues centre and Dragons club icon Matt Cooper. However, Cooper believes that he would have to give up his coaching role at the Storm to be successful in the Origin arena, and it wouldn't be fair to the club he is coaching presently.

"To be honest, I feel like if you're gonna coach Origin, you can't be coaching an NRL team," Cooper told Wide World of Sports.

"It's not fair for the NRL team that they're coaching. Origin takes a lot out of the coach. It's got to be an independent coach that's not currently coaching an NRL side."

Bellamy has been one of several people linked to the Blues head coaching job after the sudden departure of Brad Fittler. Laurie Daley, Michael Maguire, Matt King, Jason Ryles and Michael Ennis are others who have been linked with the job, whilst Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart removed his name from consideration.

In 2022, the 64-year-old Storm coach signed a unique deal with the club that allows him to decide whether he wants to remain on as the club's head coach or to transition into a coaching director role at the end of every year - this would see Jason Ryles step into his position as head coach.

"I think he would be a great choice," said Cooper.

"I feel like he's only got one more year of coaching. Craig could come in, retire from NRL, and then he could be the full time Origin coach.

"I'm sure Craig would have certain players that have played for New South Wales in mind that could help him do what Queensland have done – bring in those younger sort of coaches.

"He's gonna retire and he's still gonna watch footy.

"He's still gonna have that passion. I feel like he'd be looking at that and then he'd be really thinking about doing it, because he is one of the greatest coaches I've seen."

If Craig Bellamy ends up returning to the State of Origin arena as the coach of the NSW Blues, he will become only the sixth individual to coach the state in two separate stints.

The previous two to do the honour are Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart (2005 and 2011-12) and Phil Gould (1992-96 and 2002-04), who has recently been linked with a return to the coach the NSW Blues.