Thaiday joins new-look Maroons coaching team

Maroons coach Kevin Walters and his new-look support team will work with the next wave of Queensland talent on the Sunshine Coast this weekend.

With a nod to the future, Walters has added some exciting young guns to the Emerging Origin squad for the first time, including Jake Clifford, David Fifita, Phillip Sami and AJ Brimson. 

The weekend will mark the first opportunity for Walters and newly-appointed Maroons assistants Justin Hodges and Johnathan Thurston to work together alongside Queensland’s next generation.

Walters announced the Maroons’ new coaching and support team in November last year as part of a “fresh approach” ahead of the 2019 Holden State of Origin series.

His new team has been expanded to also include former Maroons forward Sam Thaiday and defensive consultant John Donehue.

Thaiday will help mentor and coach the Queensland forwards coming through the QAS youth program, while Donehue will acquaint himself with the Maroons set-up during this weekend’s camp.

“John has worked with the Melbourne Storm for 17 years; and the Storm have been the benchmark in the NRL for many of those years,” Walters said.

Walters has this week travelled to Bundaberg and Townsville to assist with the Under 15 regional Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) camps.

“These camps are all about reinforcing the values of the Origin team, with a major focus on respect and the team environment,” Walters said.

“It really is a fantastic initiative from the Queensland Rugby League and QAS because our charter is to develop Origin players and a lot of them come from the regions.”