Paul Green has been confirmed as Queensland’s State of Origin coach with the former North Queensland mentor saying he’s humbled to be given the opportunity after last year’s “special” series victory.
The 2015 NRL premiership-winning coach, who was let go by the Cowboys midway through last season, will replace Wayne Bennett for this year’s Origin series.
Bennett included 12 uncapped players in his 21-man squad in 2020 and defied the inexperience to claim a 2-1 series victory.
“I think last year’s series was special for all Queenslanders and supporters,” Green said.
“Some of the young guys who put their hands up during that series … it was great to see them get the win.
“In saying that too, it was good to see players like Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Papalii embrace their leadership positions.”
Green played seven games for Queensland before entering the coaching domain and notching back-to-back Queensland Cup wins with Wynnum Manly and a maiden NRL title for the Townsville-based Cowboys.
“The Maroons family is immersed in history, and I’m both humbled and privileged to be in this position,” Green said.
“I think every kid who grows up loving rugby league dreams of one day pulling on the jersey, and while my playing days are well and truly behind me, to get a chance to contribute in a meaningful way as a coach is something that I’m really excited about.”
Green pipped former Maroons fullback Billy Slater for the job after South Sydney coach Bennett opted not to juggle both roles this year.
QRL managing director Robert Moore said Green was the right man to “deliver performances every Queenslander can be proud of”.
“Paul is a passionate Queenslander who has played the game at the highest level and he has a proven track record as a successful NRL coach,” Moore said.