Ricky Stuart says if the wrong decision is made on the NSW rugby league coaching position, the door will be opened for Queensland to extend their State of Origin dynasty to a decade.
And Stuart isn’t making that call any easier for Blues’ officials by keeping his hat in the ring.
Despite agreeing to a three-year NRL coaching deal with Parramatta from 2013, Stuart will leave it up to the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) to decide whether his latest two-year Origin tenure should be ended.
Current NSW policy is that a club coach can’t lead the Blues, but officials are reluctant to let go of such a passionate figure, who went so close to ending the Maroons’ seven-year reign in the series just gone.
NSWRL General Manager Geoff Carr says the board want to “investigate all the opportunities” and stressed they wouldn’t be rushing into a decision.
Stuart said he had unfinished business at Origin level, but urged NSW officials to make the “right decision”.
“There’s still a part of me that’s empty because I didn’t win,” he said at his club announcement on Friday.
“If they don’t make the right decision over the coming weeks in regards to NSW, Queensland will go on to win 10 series in a row.
“It’s a very important decision for NSW rugby league and, if I can assist them in that decision, I most definitely will because I care for Origin football and I care for NSW.
“I’ll support whatever decision they go with.”
The conundrum is the Blues know Stuart is the ideal candidate but, by allowing him to continue, they’d be reversing the policy adopted when he was appointed two years ago.
An independent review advised them to follow Queensland’s model with Mal Meninga and only appoint full-time coaches without club ties.
Stuart will meet NSW officials next week to review the 2012 series, and Carr says the board will take their time.
“If we employ an Origin coach, they don’t need to start until November so we don’t need to be panicked into anything.
“We need to make sure we go through all the options and we look at all the possibilities because the current policy is we have a full-time coach, not a club coach.
“That’s the current policy but the board want to investigate all the opportunities and that’s what we’ll start to do.”