Queensland legend Billy Slater is considering taking on the State of Origin job next season, saying he's weighing up whether he can fully commit to the role.
The ex-Test and Melbourne fullback is considered one of the front-runners for the Maroons job in 2022 following the exit of Paul Green after his one-series stint this season.
Green walked away earlier this week with the ambition of getting another NRL coaching gig, with the Queensland Rugby League now looking to find someone fully committed to Origin role.
Slater, a veteran of 31 games for the Maroons across a remarkable NRL career, is one hopeful in a field that is also believed to include Johnathan Thurston and Wayne Bennett.
As part of his commentary role for Channel Nine on Friday night, Slater was grilled about the speculation but refused to confirm specifics.
"I want to stress that we haven't gotten to an offer or acceptance sort of thing just yet," he said.
"There's been an expression of my interest in coaching the Queensland team and given the care I have for Queensland and how high I hold the role, I'm certainly considering it.
"But at the same time I've got some existing commitments.
"I've got family commitments and I respect the role that much that I know how much I will put into the role and I know how much it will demand and the commitment it will take.
"So it's not just an easy decision to say yes, but certainly some consideration there."
Slater retired from the NRL at the end of the 2018 season but has since moved into roles in the media, as well as mentoring gigs with Melbourne and AFL club St Kilda.
He was also linked to the Maroons job before the 2021 series, but the QRL appointed ex-North Queensland coach Green instead.
"I know how much this means," Slater said.
"I've got to consider everything before I make a decision.
"I think there's a lot of good people that can be involved in the Queensland Rugby League system. The QRL are working towards that.
"They're doing a fantastic job and they've got an eye on the future, so we will see what happens."
On Thursday, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy gave a glowing endorsement of Slater for the job.
Slater spent more than 300 NRL games playing under Bellamy and although he has no coaching experience, the Storm mentor said the ex-fullback has the passion to do anything.
"There's no dipping the toe in for Billy, he's either all in or he's all out," Bellamy said.
"If he goes get the job, the one thing you can be sure of is there'll be no shortcuts."
Australian Associated Press