Queensland has announced a legend will take over as coach next Origin series after Paul Green’s exit following a disastrous 2021 campaign.
Melbourne Storm legend Billy Slater has been confirmed as Queensland’s new State of Origin coach.
News broke on Thursday the Maroons great was set to be named as Paul Green’s replacement and Queensland Rugby League (QRL) made the decision official on Friday morning.
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Green suffered a 2-1 defeat this year in his debut series as coach and earlier this month it was revealed his one-year contract would not be extended.
Slater played 31 Origins for Queensland and was the red hot favourite to take over in 2022, despite having no senior coaching experience in the NRL.
“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.”
There’s been speculation Slater will look to bring fellow rugby league greats and former Maroons teammates Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston into the fold in some capacity for next year’s series.
The 38-year-old is already looking ahead to who will be part of his team as he seeks to reignite Queensland’s dominance in the Origin arena, having lost three of the past four series.
“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.”
In addition to his 31 Origin matches, Slater played 319 NRL games and 30 Tests for Australia.