Record-breaking Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga says he will consider the vacant Australian position if it is offered to him.
Meninga, who has been at the helm of the Maroons since 2006 and boasts nine series victories from 10 attempts, is the most credentialled representative coach in the game and will be a front-runner to replace Tim Sheens if he made himself available.
“I’d certainly listen to them if they contacted me,” he told News Corp Australia. “I’ve always maintained that the Australian coach should be a full-time position. That’s always been my stance.
“So, if they do want that, then yes, I’m interested, and I’m sure a few others would be as well.”
Accepting the role could see Meninga relinquish control of the Queensland squad, with the ARLC yet to decide whether the coaching role should be a stand-alone job.
Tim Sheens was the first to mentor Australia without club ties since Arthur Beetson in 1983, however that only came about when Sheens was released by the Wests Tigers during his Kangaroos tenure.
Meninga himself doesn’t believe combining national roles with a State of Origin job is the best option.
“I don’t think you could do both, to be honest with you,” said Meninga, who re-signed with the Queensland Rugby League for a further three seasons this year. “It would be the same with Laurie (Daley), as you’d have to be neutral.
“It’s all hypothetical still. That’s the big dilemma with it all – the Queensland job. I’m obviously very happy with that at the moment.
“Put it this way – it would be a difficult decision.”
The ARLC has until February to replace Tim Sheens who has accepted a coaching role at English Super League club Salford.