State of Origin 2021: Paul Green appointed new Queensland Maroons coach

Paul Green has been named the new 2021 Queensland State of Origin coach on a one-year deal.

Green will take over from ‘super coach’ Wayne Bennett, who led the Maroons to a series win last year, before stepping down to focus on his final season with South Sydney. 

"The Maroons family is immersed in history, and I’m both humbled and privileged to be in this position," says Green, who beat out Queensland great Billy Slater for the role.

The Queensland rugby league board met on Friday to discuss Green and Slater's credentials, and Green’s experience and the support from QRL chair Bruce Hatcher has apparently seen him get the nod. 

Slater remains part of Queensland's longer-term planning and had originally been touted for an assistant role under Green, along with Johnathan Thurston, with a view to a former Maroons champion taking over as coach in future years. 

Green hopes to guide the Maroons back to dominance, after a mini revival from New South Wales in recent years. Before the Blues won two series on the trot (2018, 2019), Queensland had won 11 of the previous 12. 

The 48-year-old is vastly experienced, playing 162 first-grade games and representing the Maroons on seven occasions. 

Green's first head-coaching role came with North Queensland Cowboys in 2014, and he guided them to a title in 2015 and a Grand Final appearance in 2017, before being sacked in 2020. 

After State of Origin was moved to the end of the 2020 rugby league calendar, due to COVID-19, it will revert back to its normal mied-year slot for 2021.