Green light for premiership winner to coach Maroons
Paul Green is on the verge of being appointed coach of the Queensland State of Origin team.
Green is set to replace Wayne Bennett at the helm of the Maroons for the 2021 series.
Green's management and the Queensland Rugby League were finalising negotiations late Tuesday but the appointment appears imminent.
The QRL board came to the decision that Green was the right man to replace Bennett following a late push for Melbourne legend Billy Slater to take on the job.
Green, 48, will oversee the Maroons' 2021 campaign with the hope he secures an NRL coaching role for 2022.
A 162-game first grader, Green played seven State of Origin games for Queensland from 1999-2001 and also featured in the 1997 Super League series.
He has gone on to become one of the game's most successful coaches in recent times, winning two Intrust Super Cup titles with Wynnum-Manly before leading North Queensland to its first NRL premiership in 2015.
The Cowboys also featured in the 2017 NRL grand final, losing to Melbourne.
After three poor NRL seasons, Green was sacked by the Cowboys last year and set his sights on the Maroons role after Kevin Walters was appointed coach of the Brisbane Broncos.
But the QRL opted to bring back Bennett for last year's unique end-of-season series in a dream team set-up with Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga as one of his assistants.
The decision proved to be a masterstroke as Bennett guided Queensland to a remarkable 2-1 series victory against the odds.
In his final season as South Sydney's head coach, Bennett opted not to pursue the Queensland job for this year, opening the door for Green's appointment.
Green was considered to be the frontrunner for the role and had the support of influential QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher.
However there was a late push for Slater to take on the job on a long-term contract which would help him oversee the next generation of Maroons talent.
Slater, 37, is viewed as a future coach of the Maroons, with Melbourne Storm mentor Craig Bellamy insisting his lack of experience shouldn't count against the 31-Origin legend in the future.
"He has been around footy enough to see what that role in NRL and rep footy looks like," he said. "Billy soaks everything up. He is a quick learner and looking to learn. He would have picked things up from the coaches he played under in the Australian side and the Origin coaches he's had.
"He is a great student of the game. He understands it and has innovative ideas, he is always thinking about the game.
"More than that, he is a very good communicator. He can get his point across very clearly and strongly if he thinks that needs to be the case. His communication is probably his strongest point.
"He knows Origin. He has played 30 games and knows what Queensland Origin is about.
"He hasn't been a head coach before, but with our experiences from what he's done with the Storm, he would do a really good job.
"Billy either doesn't do something at all or does it at 110 miles an hour. If you give him a role you know you will get his full effort and concentration in that area. He is either fully in or fully out."
Originally published as Green light for premiership winner to coach Maroons