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QRL boss: Walters to stay involved with Maroons

Broncos coach-in-waiting Kevin Walters is set to stay involved with the Maroons for this year's State of Origin series following talks between powerbrokers at Brisbane and the QRL.

While Walters, who is set to be unveiled as the new Broncos coach in the coming days, won't be staying on as Maroons coach he will be involved in vital work in the leadup to the series which starts on November 4 in Adelaide.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher has spoken to Broncos chairman Karl Morris and said he had agreed "in principle" that Walters could have an input, with the nuts and bolts still to be nutted out.

"We expect and know that Kevin will be involved in the upcoming series in some shape or form. I have rung [Broncos chairman] Karl Morris this morning and said that we expect they would be flexible," Hatcher told on Tuesday.

"That is given that Kevin has been our coach the whole year, that it is very late in the piece and there is a lot of work to be done with the train-on squad which will be based in Queensland – and Kevin is really the only one that can do it.

Wayne Bennett and Allan Langer after Game III of the 2001 series.
Wayne Bennett and Allan Langer after Game III of the 2001 series.

"So we expect to have him look after that aspect of it which will take us up to the end of October when they will go into a camp.

"This week we expect to know who the new coach for 2020 will be, and we expect him to be supported by all the intellectual property and knowledge that Kevin has at his disposal."

Hatcher said the extent of Walters's involvement would be "fair to him and fair to us".

"He has been appointed at the Broncos very late and he has all the player rosters, culture and other issues to deal with," Hatcher said.

"We don’t want to be left without all the knowledge and work he has done and we want to make sure he can do his big  job now, which is as head coach of an NRL club."

Hatcher said he appreciated the understanding of Morris who just wanted to be sure that Walters’s commitments to the Maroons were not "too onerous".

"His big question was whether it was going to be 50 hours a week, which it won’t be," Hatcher said.

The QRL has put together a committee to decide on the appointment of a head coach for the 2020 State of Origin series only, given the extraordinary and unprecedented developments that have unfolded.

Could Origin stay at the end of the season?

The race looks like ultimately being between Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga, who coached the Maroons to nine series wins, including eight in a row, and Wayne Bennett who won five of the seven series he coached.

"It is a three-man battle between Paul Green, Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett and given the peculiar circumstances of the appointment and the lateness of the situation it is more than likely to be between two – Meninga and Bennett," Hatcher said.

"Paul has never coached Origin and the other two guys both know what Origin is all about.

"This year is different. Origin is on at the end of the season and we have got a train-on squad and people who play through the finals, so it is going to be straight into camp in early November and hit the ground running.”

Hatcher said Meninga's availability had the support of the ARLC.

"They think that given he has not done any coaching this year and may not do any next year, because it is questionable the World Cup will go ahead, that this situation is a specific case," he said.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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