Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has endorsed the prospect of a champion coaching ensemble taking charge as the QRL looks to appoint Wayne Bennett's successor.
The QRL board will meet next Friday as the hunt for a new Origin coach gathers momentum, with former Cowboys boss Paul Green shaping as an early favourite for a one-year appointment.
With Origin returning to its usual midyear format and kicking off in June a longer-term Maroons succession plan is also being considered as iconic fullback Billy Slater receives backing from significant figures to become Queensland coach.
Johnathan Thurston has also lent public support to Green's cause and has indicated his willingness to be involved.
Assistant roles for the likes of Slater and Thurston loom as the 2021 model preferred by QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher under "an experienced coach first", before potentially taking over.
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Having skippered Queensland to one of Origin's most incredible upsets last November, Cherry-Evans said Kevin Walters' transitioning of the Maroons through those same champions' retirements leaves the state well-placed for them to return in coaching roles.
"Whoever is coach will have the biggest say on his coaching staff obviously," Cherry-Evans told NRL.com.
"If they chose to go down the path of past players, they'd definitely be welcome into camp.
"I've had the opportunity, I was lucky enough to play with some of those guys. I've seen firsthand how intelligent they are and how passionate they are for the jersey.
"I think it can work with that different approach.
"We've seen over the years different approaches from both NSW and Queensland coaching respects, so it can definitely work.
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"That's the most exciting part with where we're at with Queensland, we have so many options there.
"Kevvie obviously made some massive inroads for us and Wayne's come in and put his touch on it for us.
"We've had some really good people make a massive positive impact over the last 12 months of the Origin side. The next person that gets the chance to coach Queensland is again going to contribute to that."
While Slater has had his credentials spruiked privately by the likes of Bennett, Mal Meninga and Craig Bellamy, his former teammates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk have also been suggested as candidates to join a wider coaching staff.
Cherry-Evans has freely admitted he struggled to keep up with Queensland's champion playmakers during his first Origin stint as a utility and Cronk's back-up between 2013 and 2015.
"When I came into those sides, I was so far behind them in my education of rugby league and how they saw the game," Cherry-Evans told NRL.com in 2019.
"I just wasn't up to their level and I'm not afraid to say that.
I've seen firsthand how intelligent they [Maroons greats] are and how passionate they are for the jerseyQueensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans
"I was having conversations with some of the leaders in the camps early on, and I can still remember it going straight over my head. I had no idea what they were talking about."
Now 31, Cherry-Evans was crowned Queensland captain in 2019 and proved instrumental in guiding 14 rookies to a 2-1 series boilover last year, shooting down NSW's bid for three straight series wins.
With Bennett deciding to focus on South Sydney's premiership tilt before Christmas, the QRL resolved to appoint its 2021 coach for only 12 months at its last board meeting, according to Hatcher.
He endorsed Green's status as the "obvious standout" last week when Bennett's departure was revealed before outlining the proposed succession plans that would take champion players into the coach's box.
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"One of the problems we've had in the past is appointing someone for more than one year when naturally, other offers and NRL coaching chances come up and that creates upheaval for us," Hatcher said.
"You look at a Paul Green, I'd imagine he won't take more than a year to land an NRL appointment.
"Then if you're looking at appointing a player as a coach they obviously have the credentials to do it, but clearly it's got to fit in with what we have planned for Queensland's success.
"We'd want them to have been in and around the camp from a coaching perspective, working under an experienced coach first perhaps to get the coaching view on the structure, even though all the guys mentioned have had success at that level as players."