Johnathan Thurston reckons Paul Green could handle coaching both North Queensland and State of Origin coaching roles next year and would bring “fresh ideas” to the Maroons set-up.
Green is the hot favourite to succeed Mal Meninga and become Queensland’s new State of Origin coach, but he needs to first convince Cowboys powerbrokers he is capable of juggling the two jobs without detriment to either team.
Rugby league luminaries like Wayne Bennett and Meninga himself have cast doubt on whether Green can juggle dual roles, while the last man to coach Queensland and an NRL side at the same time, Michael Hagan, who did so unsuccessfully in 2005-06, also had his reservations.
But Thurston believes if anyone can do it, it’s Green.
“Organising things is certainly his strong point. He could handle it,” Thurston told reporters in Townsville, shortly after accepting an Honorary Doctor of Letters from James Cook University in recognition of his tireless community work.
“He gets the best out of his players, he’s a great people manager and there’s no doubt he could handle it.
“He’s a great football brain and more importantly a great bloke. If he takes that job on there’s no doubt he’ll do a great one.”
The Queensland Rugby League has come under fire from some former Origin greats for their treatment of Kevin Walters, who was being groomed to take over from Meninga, now the Kangaroos coach.
However, Thurston suggested an injection of new blood on the coaching staff might actually leave the Maroons better off.
“Fresh ideas would be good,” said the four-time Dally M medallist, who can now call himself Dr Thurston after accepting his honorary degree at a graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
“We’ve had the same coaching staff for the last 10 years.
“It’s pretty much the same squad that we’ve had for a number of years. He’ll be able to continue that and bring in fresh ideas as well.”