Wayne Bennett has been officially confirmed as the 2020 coach for the Queensland Maroons.
He will replace Kevin Walters, who resigned this week to take on the head coaching role with the struggling Brisbane Broncos.
Walters, who has two years remaining on his contract with Queensland Rugby League, said he would assist Bennett in preparing for the upcoming State of Origin campaign.
The first game will be played in Adelaide on November 4.
The 70-year-old previously coached the Maroons in the 1980s and early 2000s.
Queensland have not won the State of Origin since 2017.
Bennett, coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, said he felt privileged to be given the opportunity.
“I love coaching Queensland and I’m extremely humbled to be invited to coach this team again, particularly in light of the challenging circumstances with Kevin moving on to coach the Broncos,” Bennett said.
“I’m very proud and pleased that I’m still able to do it. State of Origin means so much to the people of Queensland.
“It’s been a difficult year for many people and I just want to give something back if I can.”
Bennett ‘the right person’ for Maroons
QRL managing director Robert Moore said Bennett’s experience would be a great asset to the Maroons.
“Our people involved in the process to appoint the new coach all viewed Wayne as the right person when we took into consideration the unique circumstances we are now faced with,” Mr Moore said.
“There’s no doubt next month’s series will present a range of new challenges due to the scheduling change and biosecurity protocols.
“Wayne has the necessary experience and he knows what it takes to win big games at representative level, for both state and country.”
Game one of this year’s origin series will be Bennett’s 23rd game in charge of the Maroons.
He has won five of the seven Origin series he has coached and guided the Maroons to their first clean sweep in 1988.