Lockyer could replace Meninga at the Maroons

Darren Lockyer is being groomed to take over as Queensland Origin coach from Mal Meninga.
Darren Lockyer is being groomed to take over as Queensland Origin coach from Mal Meninga.

FORMER Maroon great Darren Lockyer could be ushered into the Queensland Origin coaching job next year as a raw rookie with zero experience.

Record-breaking Queensland coach Mal Meninga is understood to be weighing up an invitation to take over as coach of the Australian Kangaroos in 2016 - a position he has indicated in private talks he would accept if it was full-time.

The Queensland Rugby League, which has enjoyed phenomenal success under Meninga's leadership, winning nine of the past 10 Origin series, including an unprecedented streak of eight straight (2005-13), will have to find a replacement if

Meninga is offered and accepts the national coaching job.

It's understood Meninga has not signed the new three-year deal offered to him by the QRL after this year's 2-1 series win, which means he could accept the Kangaroos job.

Meninga's succession plan always involved Lockyer, who played a record 36 Origin games for Queensland, most as captain, and was heavily involved in the record run that started back in 2005.

Lockyer, currently a Queensland selector and an expert rugby league commentator for Channel 9, could not be contacted by APN.

While handing Lockyer the job before he has done any coaching might seem a gamble, Meninga has said publicly the Queensland players do not need a lot of coaching and that their success is more about the preparation and ground work the entire Maroons coaching and medical staff put into the Origin series.

Lockyer's charisma alone would have an influence on the Queensland team.

He has a great understanding of what Origin means and a strong bond and relationship with current senior player Cameron Smith, who took over his captaincy in 2012.

While Meninga has denied having talks with NRL Commission chairman John Grant, he has not shied away from his desire to coach Australia.

"Do I covet the Australian position? Yes, of course I do," he said.

"I love coaching Queensland. It's been the greatest position, but if the ARL Commission decides the Test job is a full-time role, you couldn't do anything else."

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