Mal Meninga is the clear favourite to become the next Kangaroos coach after the ARL Commission announced the position would be a dedicated role with no club or Origin ties on Friday.
The decision effectively rules out Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, who remain committed to their NRL roles at Brisbane and Melbourne respectively, while Meninga has made clear he would quit as Queensland Origin coach to accept the national job.
“This is a huge boost for the Kangaroos,” head of football Todd Greenberg said.
“It means they will have a dedicated coach to help them become the best rugby league team in the world.
“The international game has never been more competitive … and interest has never been so strong.”
The announcement was made as part of wide-sweeping changes in an effort to return Australia to the world No.1 ranking, which they lost to New Zealand in May.
Along with ramping up the independence of the eventual mentor, the commission also envisages a stronger succession plan of players with a clear pathway set up potentially through the Prime Minister’s XIII side.
Nine of the players who faced the Kiwis in the Anzac Test are now aged 30 or over.
The changes mean Geoff Toovey and Ivan Cleary, who were both recently sacked from Manly and Penrith respectively, can also apply for the national coaching job.