It’s the news all Queensland fans have been waiting for.
Queensland Rugby League has confirmed Maroons legends Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston will join the Maroons coaching line-up for this year’s State of Origin series.
The iconic sporting duo join head coach Billy Slater and Assistant Coach Josh Hannay, who were announced last year.
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“Queensland Rugby League is pleased to confirm a four-pronged coaching line-up to spearhead the Queensland Maroons’ State of Origin campaign in 2022,” QRL said in a statement.
“Head coach Billy Slater has added the state’s two most experienced Origin players to his coaching team for the upcoming series, with confirmation today that Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston will join Josh Hannay as assistant coaches.”
Queensland Origin great Billy Slater admitted adding Smith to the coaching line up was a no-brainer.
“If you look at what he brought as a player and a leader, I think that’s also what he can bring as a member of the coaching staff,” Slater said.
“Some people have this aura about them, and Cameron Smith is one of those people.
“He didn’t have to say a lot as captain of the Queensland State of Origin team, you felt it more than anything … you felt his presence.”
Slater said he is equally excited about teaming up with lovable Maroons larrikin Johnathan Thurston.
“JT is your ultimate Origin competitor. We saw all the brilliant stuff that Johnathan brought to the game, but for me it was the work ethic that he demanded from himself, which in turn he demanded from his teammates,” Slater said.
“I think he can have that sort of impact as a coach also. Obviously, his skills and vision of the game, understanding the balance of when to pull the trigger and when to play the percentage play, that was where he excelled in the big games.
“His last moment in Origin was kicking that pressure goal. I just think he’s a valuable asset, not just with the coaching staff, but the players in particular.”
Queensland’s support team will also include former Maroons Nate Myles and Allan Langer.