NSW coach Laurie Daley has added his voice to the chorus suggesting the national coach should not also be in charge of an Origin side at the same time, adding a perceived conflict of interest would make the gig incredibly tough.
That comes in the wake of suggestions current Queensland coach Mal Meninga could replace Tim Sheens as Kangaroos coach while remaining – at least for the short term – as Maroons coach.
Daley believes his long-time Canberra and Australia teammate and now-Origin coaching rival would be able to handle the job ethically but expressed concern about what impression it would give once the inevitable selection controversies started rearing their head. It would also make it tough to give his mate honest feedback on his own state players.
"Most people would agree that if he wanted it, he should get it. Most people also know it would also be too tough to do both in terms of wearing your Origin cap and coaching the Test team. I might be wrong, but I'd find it too difficult," Daley said.
"If he's the Australian coach and coaching Queensland, I won't be swapping too many ideas and exchanging too many thoughts on what I'm doing and how I'm going about it.
"I'm sure the NRL will work that out sooner rather than later."
Daley said while any coach in that situation should be able to put aside any personal biases it would still create an awkward situation.
"Personally, you could and would put aside [bias], but it would be hard preaching in Origin camp and then bringing people together. For me, it would be difficult to do both. You'd be putting yourself up as being biased, you put yourself in an awkward situation.
"We need to learn from what happened in the past [when NSW and Kangaroos coach Terry Fearnley was accused of bias against Queensland in 1985] and it's unfair on the coach to have that accusation thrown at him," Daley added.
"I'm sure you'd be able to put that aside but if something all of a sudden happened – if Mal was coaching and put a couple of Queenslanders ahead of NSW blokes or vice versa – it would cause drama you wouldn't necessarily need."
Daley said it would be better to stick with the current policy of having either a dedicated coach or even a club NRL coach rather than an Origin coach in charge of the Test team.
While he thinks Meninga could handle any accusations of bias it's a position no coach should be placed in, while also ruling himself out of the running for the Kangaroos job any time in the near future.
"I think at the end of the day anyone can handle it but it's a situation you don't have to be in, it's a situation no-one needs to be in. I think for me I know that I couldn't do both and I want to make sure I do what I do for NSW," Daley said.
"Mal might be completely different but I know for me, I coach NSW and I want to do the best job I can possibly do there and into the future if someone thought I was a chance you'd love to do it. But as I said other people are better qualified than me at the moment and deserve to do it and I'm sure they'll make the right decision in the right time.''