Billy Slater announces Maroons dream coaching team for State of Origin

Michael Holland

Queensland State of Origin head coach Billy Slater has announced Maroons legends Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston will join his coaching staff for the 2022 series.

Slater will also keep Josh Hannay on board as the Maroons look to gain revenge on New South Wales. Slater was named as head coach following the 2-1 defeat in the 2021 series. Smith and Thurston were always in line to get involved and on Tuesday the reunion was confirmed.

Smith and Thurston have made 79 Origin appearances between them and their experience will be crucial. Hannay also knows what it is like to taste Origin success. The former Cowboys star helped the Maroons to glory in the 2006 series.

It is a coaching line-up that will excite the Queensland faithful. Smith is the most capped player in the history of Origin with 42 appearances.

Billy Slater hails Smith presence

Slater is in no doubt the presence of Smith in the dressing room will help take the players to another level.

“If you look at what he brought as a player and a leader,” Slater said. “I think that is also what he can bring as a member of the coaching staff. Some people have this aura about them and Cameron Smith is one of those people.”

Thurston also wrote his name in to the Origin history books during his 37 appearances. The star playmaker scored 220 points in that time. Registering five tries, 99 goals and two field goals.

Again Slater believes he will be invaluable in the dressing room in Origin 2022.

“JT is your ultimate competitor,” Slater added. “I just think he is a valuable asset, not just with the coaching staff. But with the players in particular.”

A proud moment says Smith

Hannay was the first assistant coach to be named when Slater got the job last year. Now Smith and Thurston have been added to make a strong four-pronged coaching set-up.

Just to add a bit more experience former Maroons Nate Myles and Allan Langer are in the support team.

Speaking after the announcement Melbourne Storm legend Smith could not hide his pride.

“It’s a jersey and a team that I am extremely proud of and passionate about,” he said. “But I am also passionate about Queensland people and our state and making sure they feel success. And that they can be proud of their football side when we represent them.”

The Origin series will begin in Sydney on 8th June before heading to Perth on 26th June. The series will wrap up at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on 13th July.