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Hetherington 'disappointed' as Maroons look for new coach to fill expanded role

The Maroons are on the lookout for a new women's coach after parting ways with Jason Hetherington just months after last year's breakthrough State of Origin victory.  

The QRL announced on Friday they were seeking "suitable candidates to apply for the position" of Maroons head coach in 2021 but made only brief mention of Hetherington's tenure after three years at the helm.  

Hetherington was instrumental in guiding the Maroons to their first win over NSW under the Origin banner in November but won't apply for the "advanced" role that includes a larger focus at club level across Queensland. 

"I am disappointed with how it's all happened and can look at it both ways but I'll focus on the positives," Hetherington told NRL.com.

"It was a privilege and honour to help get the win last year as a collective group of 30, from the players to the coaching and support staff, and after three years of hard work.

"I'm confident the girls coming through understand Origin, what the week is about and what it means to put that jersey on.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

"It’s certainly been made tough for me to [reapply]. I work full-time, run my own business and have got dad with the cattle farm."

Hetherington was quick to endorse his assistant coaches, former Maroons legends Nat Dwyer and Karyn Murphy, to be his predecessors.

Former Maroons forward Tahnee Norris, who is the most-capped player in Jillaroos history, is also considered to be among the candidates for the role.

Norris looms as a logical choice given her knowledge and respect within the women's game and proven success in the Sunshine State with Burleigh.

"Their knowledge of the game and management of the girls is incredible to watch," Hetherington said.

I am disappointed with how it's all happened.

Jason Hetherington

"Whoever gets the job next is walking into a great set-up ... there's certainly a good product there and plenty to work with."

QRL managing director Rob Moore said the new coach would need to meet their obligations within the fast-moving women's environment.

The new appointment is expected to be announced in March. 

"This is about striving to set new standards across the women's program," Moore said.

"We've now got a great opportunity to do just that following the review, and we look forward to getting the application process underway and settling on the right person to take us forward.

"We anticipate this role will attract interest from an array of highly-credentialed coaches who have been involved with national and state club competitions, as well as members of the successful 2020 coaching team."

Queensland will look to defend the Origin shield against NSW when the two sides meet on June 25 after a stirring 24-18 victory last year.

A venue for the clash is yet to be confirmed but Hetherington and Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw told NRL.com following victory they hoped the fixture remained in Queensland for at least another season.