Langer, Henry in Maroons Origin staff - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Langer, Henry in Maroons Origin staff

20/01/2009 08:44:35 PM Comments (0)

Mal Meninga endorsed Allan Langer as a future Queensland Origin head coach - moments after the legendary halfback had been officially added to the Maroons support staff.

Langer and former Maroons rake Jason Hetherington were the new faces on the 2009 coaching staff unveiled by Queensland Rugby League on Tuesday.

In another boost to Queensland's quest for an unprecedented fourth straight series win, tactical mastermind Neil Henry was given the green light by his NRL club North Queensland to remain as Meninga's assistant.

Bonding nights are about to get a lot more interesting for the Queensland team with the addition of legendary wag Langer.

But Meninga said Langer was serious about using the Maroons gig as a coaching stepping stone - and could make it all the way to the Queensland hot seat.

Langer - who will also be a Broncos assistant in 2009 - will work on video analysis for Queensland and act as a trainer.

"He wants to make a go of coaching. Who knows one day he might be in my position - let's hope so anyway," Meninga told AAP.

"He has made the statement that he wants to get into coaching.

"He wants to make a career out of rugby league. Hopefully he can do that at the Broncos and with the Origin side.

"Obviously he is a character but we will also be relying on his expertise - he adds a new dimension to our training staff."

Langer - who played a record 34 Origins for Queensland - and Hetherington replace Kevin Walters and Steve Hooper on the Origin staff after they moved overseas.

While happy to welcome them to the fold, Meninga was also buzzing over the Cowboys green-lighting Henry for Origin duty.

Henry's Origin future was clouded after he left Canberra to take up North Queensland's head coaching reins in 2009.

The Cowboys are desperate to turn around their poor 2008 fortunes and it was feared they would be reluctant to release Henry to Queensland.

However, a kind NRL draw - and even kinder Cowboys officials - allowed not only Henry to join Meninga's staff but also North Queensland's notoriously tough trainer Billy Johnstone.

"What helped (Henry and Johnstone's release) was two byes (during the Origin period) - the draw has been very kind to us," Meninga said.

"Neil and Billy wanted to continue the (Origin) arrangement but they were very mindful of their roles at the Cowboys.

"In the end it was down to the Cowboys' generosity. We are very lucky."

Ex-Canterbury rake Hetherington - who played eight Origins for Queensland - will assist Johnstone.

Steve Walters (manager), Bob Lindner (assistant manager/media), Scott Thornton (physiotherapist), Roy Saunders (doctor) and trainers Tony Spencer and Troy Thomson are all back for another Origin campaign.

Meninga baulked when asked if he now had the staff to win four straight series.

"We are not going to be talking about that," he said.

"We will be talking about making sure our preparation is good.

"We know how difficult it is to win an Origin game, let alone four series in a row."

The 2009 series features games in Melbourne on June 3, Sydney (June 24) and Brisbane (July 15).

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