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Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston.

They delivered a long-awaited premiership to the Cowboys, now the Maroons are hoping Johnathan Thurston can help Paul Green achieve success in the State of Origin arena.

The QRL has announced Thurston will join the Maroons as an assistant coach for the 2021 Ampol State of Origin series.

Green has also retained the services of experienced mentor Neil Henry, who assisted Wayne Bennett during the Maroons’ 2-1 series victory over NSW in November.

He is confident he has a formidable coaching team at his disposal in his first series at the Queensland helm.

"Both Neil and JT have an incredible amount to offer and I’m really pleased to have them both on board for this year’s series," Green said.

"JT’s Origin record as a player speaks for itself, and he knows what it takes to win. Given that we’re likely to have a young side, it’s a great opportunity for him as well.

Johnathan Thurston and Paul Green embrace after the 2015 grand final.
Johnathan Thurston and Paul Green embrace after the 2015 grand final. ©NRL Photos

"Neil has a long history as an assistant in the Origin program, and the fact that he was there to experience the great win last year provides our group with more stability."

Thurston, who played in all 24 games of Queensland’s eight-year winning streak from 2006, said he was excited to return to Camp Maroon. 

He was the Cowboys' co-captain alongside Matt Scott when Green guided the club to their epic 2015 grand final win over Brisbane in extra time.

The key to defending on the edge

"I always loved playing for the jersey, so to be in a position to hopefully pass on a bit of knowledge while in this role is something that I’m really looking forward to," Thurston said.

Queensland blooded a bunch of promising young players at Origin level last season, including Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, AJ Brimson, Harry Grant and Corey Allan while more-experienced rookies like Kurt Capewell, Brenko Lee and Jake Friend also rose to the occasion.

Origin I will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 9, before Suncorp Stadium gets its turn on June 27 with the series finale set down for Stadium Australia on July 14.

2021 men's State of Origin series

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