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)

Queensland legends Cameron Smith and Billy Slater could take over the State of Origin coaching vacancy left by Wayne Bennett.

The Daily Telegraph's Travis Meyn reports that the Maroons are looking to forge a coaching succession plan that could see one of the iconic Maroons duo take the reigns.

It comes after it was revealed on Thursday that Bennett had stepped down from his position to focus on the Rabbitohs' 2021 season and delivering a title.

The 71-year old is entering the final season of a three-year deal he signed with South Sydney before he hands over the coaching duties Jason Demetriou in 2022.

Ex-Cowboys coach Paul Green is considered the favourite to lead Queensland in the 2021 Origin series. However, The Daily Telegraph reports that Queensland Rugby League does not see him as a long-term option and believes he will receive an NRL coaching job by the end of 2021.

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)

QRL has a policy which permits its coach to not have ties to any NRL clubs.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher told The Daily Telegraph: “With Paul Green I’m sure within a year he will have an NRL job and he expresses the view that is his priority.

“We will go through a process because there have been players who have been exceptional at NRL level but don’t want to be a fulltime coach and would throw their hat in the ring to be an Origin coach.

“The ones that come to mind are Slater, Cameron Smith, Hodges and those guys.

“It’s not as simple as just being a coach for six weeks. We’ve still got a camp-based system with the Queensland Academy of Sport. We need to communicate and watch players playing to make sure they’re ready to come through.

“The coach can’t just turn up for the three Origin games.

“We would prefer to bring one of those guys in under the coaching leadership of an experienced coach (like Green).”

QRL is expected to finalise Bennett's successor next month - with the series set to return to its traditional mid-season slot.


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