Maroons waiting to get Origin Green light

WAITING GAME: Cowboys coach Paul Green is favourite, but it remains to be seen whether he will indeed replace Mal Meninga as Queensland Origin coach.
WAITING GAME: Cowboys coach Paul Green is favourite, but it remains to be seen whether he will indeed replace Mal Meninga as Queensland Origin coach. Ian Hitchcockgetty Images

The Queensland Rugby League's search for a new State of Origin coach may not be progressing as smoothly as planned.

Replacing Mal Meninga, who delivered the Maroons nine series wins in a decade after taking the reins in 2006, was never going be easy.

That's because, firstly, the QRL did not expect Meninga to walk away from the job, and, secondly, because its first choice as his replacement, Cowboys premiership coach Paul Green, wants his club's permission to take on the job.

The QRL was keen to lock in their new man before closing its Milton headquarters for the Christmas break next week.

However when contacted by APN about any developments in the coaching search, QRL chairman Peter Betros delivered a blunt "I've got nothing to say."

Calls to Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini and to Green went unanswered and were not returned, adding to the mystery building around Meninga's replacement.

APN understands the Cowboys would prefer Green turn down the chance to take the next step in his budding coaching career to focus fully on North Queensland's bid to defend its maiden premiership.

However, like any up-and-coming coach, Green has personal aspirations and like any player he wants to build up his resume.

The problem for the Cowboys is unless they can change Green's mind, there's nothing in his contract stopping him from taking the State of Origin job.

It might come down to how much Green wants the job, and whether he would be willing to risk handing it over to someone for the short-term and making a play for it in a year or two.

The victorious Queensland team and coaching staff held an Origin dinner on the Sunshine Coast last Friday night, which Meninga attended.

Retiring centre Justin Hodges was sent off with the Peter Jackson Memorial Medal for his outstanding contribution to Queensland, which finished in style with a record 52-6 win in game three at Suncorp Stadium in July.

Captain Cameron Smith took home the Ron McAuliffe Medal as the Maroons' player of the series.

Awards were also handed out to the players' player for each of the three games, going to Will Chambers (game one), Corey Parker (game two) and Johnathan Thurston (game three).

Meanwhile, a funeral service for well-known Brisbane Broncos supporter and successful businessman John Crane, who recently passed away after a year-long battle with lung cancer, will be held at the Broncos Leagues club on Thursday.

A highly regarded member of the FOGs, running many of their government-backed programs, Crane was Allan Langer's manager and close friend.

He was also a friend to many in the rugby league community, business world and media.

"He was a great bloke, and was so organised he has even planned his own send off," FOG's chairman and Queensland Origin selector Gene Miles said.

Topics:  mal meninga maroons north queensland cowboys nrl paul green queensland state of origin

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