Bellamy cautions against dual coach role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy cautions against dual coach role

By Guy Hand 10/12/2008 06:12:53 PM Comments (0)

NSW rugby league coach Craig Bellamy has warned combining State of Origin and Test coaching jobs is "fraught with danger".

As debate rages whether to allow Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga to replace Ricky Stuart at the helm of the Kangaroos, Bellamy has urged caution as officials consider a policy shift to let Meninga combine both roles.

The jobs were last combined fulltime in 1985, when then-Blues Origin coach Terry Fearnley oversaw a disastrous tour of New Zealand.

Fearnley famously dropped four Queenslanders for four New South Welshmen following one Test, causing friction among players, outrage in Queensland and eventually costing Fearnley his job.

Since then, the Australian Rugby League (ARL) has refused to employ current Origin coaches in the Kangaroos top job.

Bellamy said, while Meninga deserved a shot at being Australian coach, combining that job and the Maroons role would be difficult and lead to intense scrutiny of his Test selections.

"It's fraught with danger but if anyone could handle it, it would be Mal," Bellamy said.

"The incident 23 years ago still rubs raw with the Queenslanders I suppose.

"That incident's well remembered, and I'm sure Mal would have that in the back of his mind and the ARL would have that in the back of their minds.

"I don't think any coach in that position would actually favour players from their own Origin team, but it's the perception to the press and the public.

"Mal certainly deserves it. He's had three Origin campaigns now and they've been three successful ones so I'd imagine he certainly deserves a go at it if that's the way the ARL decides to go."

Bellamy has already ruled himself out of contention for the Australian job, and had to be coaxed into taking the NSW Origin job in 2009 because of the heavy workload combining it with his club commitments at Melbourne.

Storm and Australian hooker Cameron Smith endorsed Meninga, saying he would make an excellent Kangaroos coach.

Smith said having club commitments - as Stuart had with Cronulla - would be more of a problem in the modern game than being able to combine the job with Origin.

"I've been coached by Mal for three years now and he does a great job at representative level," Smith said.

"He doesn't have any commitments with any club team, so he can focus all his time on rep teams so that gives him an advantage over other candidates."

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