Paul Green has turned down the Queensland State of Origin job and will focus solely on steering North Queensland’s NRL premiership defence next year.
Green was offered the chance to succeed Mal Meninga as Maroons coach by the Queensland Rugby League but said while it remains a career goal, the timing wasn’t right to take up the position.
“I am extremely flattered by the QRL’s interest in me coaching the Maroons. I’m humbled by the overtures and coaching the Maroons is something I am hugely passionate about,” said Green, who played seven Origin games for Queensland from 1999-2001.
“I’ve decided to concentrate on coaching the Cowboys in season 2016, putting all my energies into having another successful season.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me through this process however the timing around coaching State of Origin next year just wasn’t quite right, and from a personal point of view, the decision that I’ve made will be the best thing for all parties next year.
“As a past State of Origin player, I remain as passionate as ever about the Maroons and remain hopeful of again getting such a treasured opportunity.”
Green’s decision opens the door for Meninga’s former assistant Kevin Walters to be installed as Queensland coach, but the QRL says it is “unlikely” any appointment will be made until the New Year.
Walters was being groomed for the position and was reportedly shattered when the QRL overlooked him for Green, a move widely met with surprise.
Many former Origin greats who came out in support of Walters, while the likes of Meninga and Wayne Bennett both expressed scepticism that Green could juggle both jobs without harming the Cowboys’ chances.
“We respect and support Paul’s decision to concentrate on the Cowboys as the club prepares for its premiership defence,” QRL managing director Robert Moore said.
“The QRL understands the enormous public interest surrounding the appointment of Mal’s successor and will continue with the process.
“However, it’s unlikely that we’ll have a decision until the New Year.”