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Slater the frontrunner for Maroons post after Bennett pulls out

Johnathan Thurston is already part of the coaching staff, while Slater’s long-time Storm teammate, Cooper Cronk, is a member of the QRL board.

Long-time Queensland mentor Mal Meninga said Slater would be a shrewd appointment.

“He’s very smart in the way he prepared for games,” Meninga said.

“I used him numerous times when I was coaching. He’s only just retired, has a great contemporary mind for the game, is a great communicator. His attention to detail is excellent and he understands Origin.

“He’s been a part of it, so for me he would be a natural progression.”

Meninga said that he would support the likes of Thurston, Slater, Cameron Smith and Cronk transitioning into off-field roles now that their playing days have finished.

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“It was always my desire when I was coaching that the senior players would take over the reins at a later date,” he said.

“I see a natural evolution for Billy, Cameron Smith and Jon and Cooper is on the QRL board.

“Those type of people being involved in the QRL moving forward would be fantastic. If Billy gets involved, you want those guys in. JT has been involved the last couple of years, so that’s all a natural selection when it comes to Origin.”

Meninga said he hadn’t been approached about the position and that he was currently in negotiations to continue to coach the Kangaroos, at least until next year’s World Cup.

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