'It's a great honour': Slater named new Maroons coach

Billy Slater wants to help develop the next generation of Queensland stars after the Maroons legend agreed to take on the State of Origin role for the next two years.

Slater, who played 31 Origins and was a key member of Queensland's eight-year domination of the interstate series, has been announced as the Maroons' next coach after being approached to replace Paul Green two weeks ago.

Green stood down because he wanted to consider any NRL jobs that come up next season or in 2023 but Slater has made it clear he is only interested in coaching the Maroons.

Since retiring from the professional playing ranks in 2018, Slater has impressed with his football intellect and his understanding of the modern-day game through his work as a commentator, Maroons selector and mentor.

“I’m very honoured to be able to have been involved with the Queensland State of Origin team - firstly as a supporter when I was a young boy, inspired by the team, then I got the opportunity to play for Queensland and be one of those players," Slater said.

"Now I get the chance to help guide and help bring through the next generation.

"It’s a great honour to be the Queensland coach. I was drawn to the role because I care and because it’s important to me.

"At the end of the day, I’m a Queenslander. This team means a lot to me. It always has. It has been a big part of my life for the majority of my life and now I get the opportunity to help other people, not only fulfil their dream, but inspire a whole state."

The 38-year-old's former Origin teammates Johnathan Thurston, who was an assistant to Green in this year's 2-1 series loss, and Cameron Smith may also be involved with next season's campaign but only Slater's position has been finalised at this stage.

The QRL is keen to find an experienced mentor to help him in his first coaching role, with Wayne Bennett believed to be a target for the role.

"It would be irresponsible not to lean on some great people around the Queensland State of Origin team that have been there in the past, that have been successful," Slater said.

"I thought it was important that I had to commit first, then we’ll put the pieces of the puzzle together.

"Over the next little period, we’ll build a support staff around the players that will best assist the players to play at their optimal."

Incoming QRL chief executive officer Rohan Sawyer is excited about the future of the Maroons with Slater at the helm.

"Once we determined it was in our best interests to secure a coach who could provide leadership to a young playing group over multiple series, Billy was the standout option," Sawyer said.

"We’re delighted to secure the services of such a passionate Queenslander, and we’re now very much looking forward to planning for the future and providing as much support for Billy as possible to help set him up for success.

"The all-round education he can provide to our playing group is exciting, and his technical thinking offers another element as well."

Slater also represented Australia in 30 Test matches and played 323 games for the Melbourne Storm.

He was the Dally M Player of the Year in 2011, and the recipient of the Rugby League Golden Boot Award in 2008.

While he has no experience as a head coach, Slater has been involved in coaching at the Storm and with Maroons players in recent camps.

He is renowned for his work ethic and has been endorsed by the likes of Smith, Thurston, Bennett and Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

Brad Walter, NRL.com