Maroons suddenly in the red regarding head coach

KANGAROOS-BOUND: With Mal Meninga (pictured) taking the national coaching job, who will take over the reins with Queensland?
KANGAROOS-BOUND: With Mal Meninga (pictured) taking the national coaching job, who will take over the reins with Queensland? Bradley Kanarisgetty Images

Amateur is the best description for the way the NRL handled the recent appointment of the new Kangaroos coach.

And, regrettably, the QRL has followed the same blueprint with its succession plan after the departure of Mal Meninga.

As things stand today, the greatest rugby league team of the past decade is coachless, and seemingly not even close to securing one.

The Mighty Queensland Maroons, with nine series wins in 10 years, have effectively been orphaned.

And, if my mail is correct, the QRL administration stands condemned for this embarrassing mess.

Back in May, Big Mal announced he had agreed to another three-year term as Queensland coach.

"We are just working through the details," he said at the time.

Yet inexplicably, those details were never worked through. Several times in the interim the Maroons coach said he was waiting for the QRL to come back to him, but that - evidently - never happened.

Now the horse has bolted. Meninga has been elevated to the Kangaroos role and the lack of a Queensland coaching succession plan has been laid bare.

With good reason, most thought Meninga's assistant for six of the past 10 years, Kevin Walters, was the heir apparent.

But despite publicly-voiced endorsement from both Meninga and Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, it seems Walters is now not the man for the job.

And the reasons he is out of favour remain blurred.

Despite not having had control of an NRL team, Walters would still seem well qualified. He is a 20-game Origin stalwart, a five-time NRL premiership winner and an assistant NRL coach at the Storm, Knights and Broncos, under eminent coaches Bennett and Craig Bellamy.

As well, he had two seasons coaching Catalans in the English Super League.

If the QRL hierarchy now thinks he is not the man to succeed Meninga, why did he stay in the support role for six years? Did they not do their due diligence? Were they not aware of his supposed shortcomings?

Surely there is no better time for Queensland to take on a rookie coach.

The nucleus of this team - Smith, Thurston, Cronk, Inglis, Scott, Myles, Parker, Thaiday, Boyd - don't require coaching as such. The same path along which Kevvie Walters has helped guide them for six of the past 10 years would seem a journey to continued success.

Conversely, Paul Green doesn't need the Maroons gig, and the Cowboys certainly don't need their rookie coach in that hot seat.

As premiers, North Queensland will be the hunted in 2016 and to go back-to-back they must have all hands on deck.

If the QRL can't make a decision, maybe the players should be given a vote.

And if they were, I'd be surprised if they didn't tip their hat to Kevin Walters - at least for the next series.

Topics:  mal meninga maroons queensland state of origin

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