Queensland rugby league great Billy Slater is set to enter the coaching ranks after agreeing to help revive the Maroons' State of Origin fortunes.
Slater has answered an SOS from the Queensland Rugby League, signing a two-year deal to the end of the 2023 State of Origin series.
The QRL is expected to confirm the 38-year-old's appointment as Origin coach on Friday, News Corp reported.
Slater will take over the Queensland reins from Paul Green, the NRL premiership-winning coach who parted ways with the Maroons after this year's 2-1 series loss.
Queensland suffered heavy defeats in the first two Origin games before the Maroons avoided a series whitewash in a 20-18 win in the third match.
But Green's tenure was cut short in early September when he revealed he wanted to return to an NRL coaching role.
"The basis for this is simple, the QRL wants to ensure that they have certainty around the Origin coach not wanting to pursue an NRL head coach job," Green said.
"And whilst I could give them that certainty for the 2021 series, I cannot guarantee that this would be the case in the future."
Slater is rated one of the best players to represent Queensland.
In a 14-year Origin career, the fullback played 31 times for the Maroons and was an integral figure in the Mal Meninga-coached side that won a record nine series in 10 years.
The former Melbourne Storm champion emerged as a frontrunner for the Origin job despite the likely availability of master coach Wayne Bennett.
Bennett, who is in his last season as South Sydney coach, briefly stepped back into the Origin cauldron in 2020 as Queensland stunned NSW to claim the series.
Slater has been a member of the Nine Network's commentary team since retiring in 2018 and this week ruled out coaching at NRL level.
"I don't have an ambition to be an NRL coach, no," Slater told Sydney radio station 2GB.
Australian Associated Press