It’s official – Wayne Bennett will coach the Maroons for the 2020 State of Origin series, 17 years after his last stint in the job.
The South Sydney coach takes the reins from Kevin Walters, who this week was confirmed as the new coach of the Brisbane Broncos.
Bennett already has a strong connection to the Maroons family after three previous coaching stints from 1986 to 1988, 1998 and 2001 to 2003.
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He has won five of seven Origin series while in charge of the Maroons, and was at the helm when Queensland won its first series clean sweep in 1988.
Bennett said he felt privileged to be given the opportunity to step up for Queensland in such a big series.
“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.”
QRL managing director Robert Moore said experience would be invaluable.
“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,” 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.”
The first game will be November 4 at Adelaide Oval.