Queensland Maroons Training Session
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Coaches Mal Meniga and Wayne Bennett talk during a Queensland Maroons state of origin training session at Cbus Super Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett has stepped down as Maroons coach, reports NRL.com’s Dan Walsh.

Coming off Queensland’s shock Origin series upset win over NSW, Bennett has relinquished his coaching duties to focus on the Rabbitohs’ 2021 premiership campaign.

The 71-year old is embarking on the final season of a three-year deal he signed with South Sydney and wants to put all his energy into developing another premiership to Redfern.

He will hand over head coaching duties to assistant Jason Demetriou in 2022.

As for the next Maroons coach, Walsh reports that ex-Cowboys mentor Paul Green is the favourite to take over.

“A week or so after Origin Wayne indicated that he wanted to focus on the Rabbitohs,” QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher told NRL.com.

“He said straight away that he’s always ready to help, and people that think he’s lost his enthusiasm don’t know him.

“But he was very grateful to the Rabbitohs for giving him the opportunity last year and now he wants to focus on 2021 and giving it a big shake this year.

“Now we’ve got our board meeting on January 29 and we’ll have our review of Origin. That review has been completed but is yet to be discussed in any great detail.

“The most important thing to understand is that we will go through a board verified process to make sure we get the right person.”

Queensland will now have a whole 12 months to choose Bennett’s successor, with Hatcher admitting that Green was an early standout.

“Obviously the standout at the moment is Paul Green because he’s fully credentialed,” Hatcher said.

“He’s won an NRL premiership, he’s been an assistant coach at another NRL premiership and he’s played Origin.

“Last year we had to tell him straight that because of the circumstances where he came into the picture very late, we weren’t going to go through the process and we said we wouldn’t consider him for 2020 given the unique nature of that Origin series.

“But he’s someone that will feature prominently for 2021 for sure.”