Wayne Bennett has warned it will come as a “huge cost” to North Queensland if coach Paul Green is installed as Queensland State of Origin coach – a view echoed by the outgoing Mal Meninga.
Green is the hot favourite to succeed Meninga and become the first NRL coach to juggle club and Queensland Origin commitments since Michael Hagan in 2005.
“Nobody knows the demands of the job from a club point of view better than I do,” said Bennett, who was also a club coach during six of his seven years as Maroons boss.
“It can done, but it will be done at a huge cost.
“I don’t think it will hurt Queensland’s chances, there’s so many wonderful players in that team and they’ve got a pretty good system going.
“The challenge is going to be going back to your club.”
Bennett also said he felt for his Brisbane assistant, Kevin Walters, who had been groomed for the job but is reportedly set to be overlooked by the Queensland Rugby League.
But underlining the demands of representative coaching, Bennett said if Walters was offered the position, he’d be held back from Broncos duties for a season.
“I’d have the conversation with him, if he got the job, that he wasn’t going to be the assistant coach for next year,” he said.
“I would re-employ him the following year, after a year of doing it he would be much better equipped.
“But I wouldn’t want him to get a job that means so much to him and then he’s club coaching with us – he’d be distracted, there’s no doubt about that.”
Meninga also cast doubt on whether Green would be able to juggle both Cowboys and Maroons coaching jobs.
When Neil Henry served as Meninga’s assistant, it eroded his ability to concentrate on his then duties as North Queensland coach.
He said while the ultimate decision as to whether Green could perform both jobs rested with the Cowboys, he said the Maroons gig was so big he believed it needed fulltime attention.
“I think it’s difficult and it’s important it’s a decision that’s not made lightly. I remember having Neil Henry as my assistant and the duties just with that were enormous,” Meninga said.
“That impinged on his abilities to coach the Cowboys.
“For me it’s for the club to weigh up and whether they’re willing to let Paul have a crack.”