Australia coach Mal Meninga has been given permission to take up an assistant role under Queensland boss Wayne Bennett for this year’s State of Origin series.
Meninga will step down from Kangaroos duties in the short term to be Bennett’s assistant for the series against New South Wales, with the opening game to be played in Adelaide on November 4.
From 2006 to 2015, Meninga was Maroons coach, leading them to eight straight series wins and nine in 10.
“From my perspective, it’s great to be involved, and to work under Wayne and the current batch of players is something that I’m really excited about,” Meninga said.
“It’s been a unique year, and with no Test matches, this position allows me to remain in touch with the latest trends in the game.”
— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) October 15, 2020
Queensland will be aiming to respond after back-to-back series losses to New South Wales.
Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys said the Kangaroos’ situation amid the coronavirus pandemic meant it was possible for Meninga to take up the role with the Maroons despite being contracted as Australia coach until the end of 2021.
“This year is an exceptional year,” V’landys said.
“Under normal circumstances you can’t be head coach of the Kangaroos and be involved in an Origin squad. But given there are no Test matches because of COVID we have granted Mal permission to assist Queensland.
“Mal is an Origin legend and his presence in the series will add an additional layer of excitement for our fans and players.”