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Meninga wants Walters on Qld staff

Picking the next Queensland State of Origin team already seems daunting to all-conquering coach Mal Meninga.
Meninga wants Walters on Qld staff
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Oct 8 AAP - Picking the next Queensland State of Origin team already seems daunting to all-conquering coach Mal Meninga.

But Meninga appears to have made up his mind about a successor after confirming he had approached the QRL about adding Brisbane Broncos legend Kevin Walters to his squad next year.

However, Meninga said his "succession plan" would be dashed once Walters fulfilled his dream of becoming an NRL head coach.

Walters will reportedly miss out on the Parramatta reins after being overlooked for the North Queensland job but has made no secret of his desire to be an NRL coach.

"The succession plan is about making the system a lot better, making sure we don't stand still and get complacent," Meninga said on Tuesday.

"We are doing it with the players and we have to do it with staff as well.

"We are still waiting on what Kevvie is doing. We are not quite sure where he is at.

"He has quit Melbourne (as an assistant) and his desire is to coach in the NRL and if he does that then that will take him out of the picture.

"But if he doesn't get a gig we would like to seriously consider him coming on staff."

Meninga, who hinted that he may quit as Queensland coach in July, said former Cowboys coach and new Gold Coast assistant Neil Henry would also be considered for a Maroons support staff role.

"Whilst they are available why not use them?" Meninga said.

While Meninga sweats on Walters' decision, a much tougher dilemma faces him ahead of next year's series opener - the make-up of the Queensland team.

Meninga admitted the halfback role alone would be difficult to determine, judging by Manly No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans' man-of-the-match performance in a losing NRL grand final team days after Maroons incumbent Cooper Cronk won the Dally M Medal.

"He's playing really good footy. Some say he is the best halfback in the competition at the moment," Meninga said of Cherry-Evans.

"He would be close to it but Cooper has just won the Dally M so we have got some great talent."

Another to have impressed Meninga was premiership-winning Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend.

"He's an Origin player in the making. He's gone to another level. That augurs well for Queensland," he said.

"But things can change pretty quickly through injuries or lack of form.

"We will have nine or 10 rounds of the NRL before we pick our first team.

"Then we will have the tough job of selecting a side."




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