Queensland yet to throw towel in on Meninga involvement

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 20: Head Coach Mal Meninga of Australia looks on after the International Test match between Tonga and Australia at Mount Smart Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Queensland have reportedly come up with a new plan to try and have Mal Meninga involved in their Origin camp.

2022 marks something of a changing of the guard for the Maroons with Billy Slater set to enter the system as head coach in a full-time role similar to that which Brad Fittler holds with the New South Wales Rugby League.

Slater is set to replace Paul Green, who had a horrendous first and only series in charge, Queensland losing the first two games by a combined record margin.

While the former champion fullback has no coaching experience, the QRL are planning to put a team of advisors around Slater for him to lean on as he begins his job behind the clipboard.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Billy Slater of Queensland waves to the crowd as he is chaired from the field by Cameron Munster and Will Chambers of Queensland after his final game for Queensland during game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former Queensland coach and current Australian coach Mal Meninga was set to be one of those. Meninga spent the Queensland dynasty in charge of the Origin team, which Slater played a heavy role in.

However, Peter V'Landys and the Australian Rugby League Commission blocked that move, citing a potential conflict of interest.

The Courier Mail are now reporting though that Meninga could be involved, but not have any actual impact on the camp.

The high-level advisory group would also include Wayne Bennett, who is expected to be announced as the first coach of the Dolphins, the NRL's newest team, in the coming days, and former Maroons legend Gene Miles.

QRL chief Bruce Hatcher confirmed to the publication that Meninga was still in their plans.

“I think a broader view of the issue is that guys like Mal, even Geno and Wayne, have had so much involvement in football generally that the QRL needs their expertise going forward as part of making sure that our systems and processes and people are in accordance with their pretty high standards and knowledge and experience,” Hatcher told the publication.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett talks to media during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval on May 30, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“So what we want really is to have them on (what) I call basically an advisory board. An advisory board would offer advice to the appropriate people.

“Billy is a guy who obviously has supreme confidence and has performed very well at the highest level. I still contend coaching is different."

Slater is also looking to build a team of assistant coaches, with other names from Queensland long run of success also being thrown around, including Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston, who assisted Paul Green in 2021.