Sport Paul Green steps down as Queensland State of Origin coach

Paul Green steps down as Queensland State of Origin coach

Paul Green has been sacked as Queensland State of Origin coach after losing the 2021 series. Photo: AAP
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Paul Green has been dumped as Queensland State of Origin coach after one series, with the Maroons confirming his contract would not be renewed.

Green has paid the price for the Maroons’ horror 2021 campaign, where they were flogged in the first two games before winning a dead rubber.

He becomes the second one-term Queensland coach after Des Morris’s tenure came to an end after a 1985 series loss.

Green said the Queensland Rugby League wanted a coach who didn’t have NRL head coaching ambitions and as such “decided to move in different directions”.

“Whilst I could give them that certainty for the 2021 series, I cannot guarantee that this would be the case in the future,” he said.

“We all understand the dynamics and volatility around NRL club head coach roles and ultimately, that is where I see myself when the right opportunity opens up.”

The Maroons surprised a below-strength New South Wales to win last year’s series under Wayne Bennett but were unable to replicate that upset under Green.

They suffered a record 50-6 loss in Townsville before being held scoreless for the first time in Brisbane in a 26-0 defeat that sealed the series.

Green’s men managed a consolation 20-18 win in game three, helped by the absence of injured NSW and Penrith halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.

Injury and fitness concerns plagued the Maroons before both live rubbers, while Ronaldo Mulitalo was withdrawn on the day of the second game when questions were raised over his eligibility.

“We understand and respect Paul’s ambitions to return to NRL coaching at some point, and we wish him every bit of success in the future,” QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher said.

“In my opinion, Paul went through the most exceptional circumstances in the history of Origin, with issues around injuries, COVID-19 and player eligibility, and the way the team was able to finish off the series with one of the great Origin victories is testament to his leadership.”

Former player Johnathan Thurston was an assistant to Green this year, while fellow Maroons great Billy Slater was also flagged as a potential long-term successor in the role.

Mal Meninga coached Queensland to eight straight series victories from 2006 to 2013, winning his ninth series in 10 years in 2015 before moving on to the Kangaroos job.

Bennett will hand over his NRL head coaching duties at South Sydney to understudy Jason Demetriou but has expressed interest in a role with an expansion team in Brisbane from 2023.