BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 16: Cameron Smith and Billy Slater run during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort on June 16, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Queensland State of Origin legend Billy Slater has been confirmed as the new coach of the Maroons.

The announcement comes just weeks after Paul Green officially announced he was standing down from the role to pursue an NRL coaching job.

The Queensland Rugby League wanted to take the team in a similar direction to New South Wales and Brad Fittler, with a long-term commitment, and a coach in a position to work in a fulltime role with the QRL, focusing on development and pathways.

Slater was seen as the raging favourite from the moment Green announced his resignation, although other former players Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith were also reportedly considered, as was former coach and current Kangaroos boss Mal Meninga, and super coach Wayne Bennett.

Both Bennett and Meninga opted out, with Meninga focusing on the Australian team and Bennett stating he wasn't interested. Smith too is reportedly only considering an assistant role, while Thurston was already involved in the 2021 camp alongside Green.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Cameron Smith of the Maroons celebrates victiry after game three of the State Of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 12, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Slater will have a mammoth job of overturning one of history's most lopsided Origin series, but said he was honoured to be taking the role.

“I’m very honoured to be able to have been involved with the Queensland State of Origin team, firstly as a supporter when I was a young boy, inspired by the team, then I got the opportunity to play for Queensland and be one of those players, and now I get the chance to help guide and help bring through the next generation,” Slater said.

“It’s a great honour to be the Queensland coach. I was drawn to the role because I care and because it’s important to me.

“At the end of the day, I’m a Queenslander. This team means a lot to me. It always has. It has been a big part of my life for the majority of my life and now I get the opportunity to help other people, not only fulfil their dream, but inspire a whole state.”

Slater played 31 games during a glittering Origin career, being consistently picked at fullback during the most dominant Origin streak in the concept's history.

It's unclear at this stage who will form Slater's support team, however, the rookie coach will be looking to have experience onboard, and Bennett could be a potential option, while it's likely Thurston and Smith will be called upon in some respect to help the camp's progression.

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)

Slater said the support team will be built now he has been confirmed in the role.

“It would be irresponsible not to lean on some great people around the Queensland State of Origin team that have been there in the past, that have been successful,” Slater said.

“I thought it was important that I had to commit first, then we’ll put the pieces of the puzzle together.

“Over the next little period, we’ll build a support staff around the players that will best assist the players to play at their optimal.”

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