Smith stays out of QRL coaching drama


BRISBANE: Rugby league legend Cameron Smith has held himself back from declaring Queensland should replace under-fire coach Paul Green with retired star Billy Slater.
Green will hope to avoid the embarrassment of a New South Wales sweep when he coaches the Maroons in tonight’s State of Origin three dead rubber.
The disastrous start to this year’s series quickly put Green’s future under the microscope, given he only signed a one-year deal with Queensland Rugby League (QRL).
Speculation that Slater could be parachuted in for 2022 lingers but the 38-year-old’s prospects took a sour turn this week.
Maroons great Paul Vautin claimed the QRL made an offer for Slater to coach in 2021, only to backflip and start the formal coaching search that led to Green’s appointment.
“Billy got a phone call from someone in the QRL saying ‘we’d love you to come in and have an interview’,” Vautin told the ABC.
“And he said ‘an interview? What are you talking about? Didn’t you say I had the job?’
“They said ‘oh there’s been another guy come up’ and he said ‘you know what, you can stick your interview where the sun don’t shine, don’t worry about it’ and that’s when Paul Green got the job.”
QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher and Slater himself have both struck off Vautin’s story as a false reading of the situation.
“(Slater) was not offered the job outright by anyone who had the authority to make that decision,” Hatcher told News Corp.
The administrator said Slater also never told him to ‘stick the interview where the sun don’t shine’.
“Well, he didn’t say that to me,” he said.
“It was a full and frank conversation, but it was not done in a manner that was inappropriate.”
Slater himself explained he was sounded out to gauge his interest in coaching the team, but “didn’t want to be a part of the circus” that was the QRL’s search.
“To be honest, I was taken aback,” he told 2GB.
“I never really sat down and considered it.
“My advice to QRL was they needed to go away and work out who exactly they thought was best for the job.
“All us Queenslanders want is the best person to lead Queenslanders going forward. I didn’t want to be a part of the circus.
“When it started to become that, I called Bruce Hatcher and told him that I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
Slater went on to back Green and declare his relationship with Hatcher and the QRL remains strong. – 7 News