Former Kangaroos coach signs for NSW State of Origin

Former Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart will sign a two-year deal as the first full-time coach of the New South Wales Blues State of Origin team.

Stuart is the most recent NSW coach to win a series against Queensland, in 2005.

Ever since, the Maroons have dominated and Stuart must now arrest a five-year losing streak.

Consequently, the 43-year-old is taking on one of the highest-pressure jobs in the game.

The former Test coach is greatly respected by the players and it appears now he will also have greater powers than any other Blues coach before him.

After the NSWRL commissioned the NRL research board chairman and former Sydney Roosters chief executive, Brian Canavan, to pick over the failed 2010 NSW Origin campaign, it was mooted that the number of selectors would be reduced from the present four.

To date the NSW coach has never been a selector. Previously if the four selectors were deadlocked, NSWRL chairman Colin Love had the deciding vote.

But it’s understood Stuart will be one of two selectors – the other vote coming from the newly created chief adviser position. For the past five Origin campaigns, the four NSW selectors have been Bob Fulton, Laurie Daley, Bob McCarthy and Geoff Gerard. Daley resigned in July this year after the third game.

Fulton’s name has been linked to the adviser role as has former NSW coach Phil Gould.

Gould has already said his Origin days are over after he became the Blues’ most successful coach, leading NSW to 14 wins from his 24 matches in charge.

Stuart took over from Gould and helped NSW to a hat-trick of series wins.

Stuart was sacked by Sydney Roosters in 2006 and moved to Cronulla in 2007. He was given a release in May this year from the final year of his contract at the Sharks.

Since then the three-time premiership-winning player has been a free agent.

Stuart has made no secret of the fact he wants to coach another NRL club – his third. That desire reportedly was one of the points that needed negotiation before Stuart agreed to return to the Blues.

It is understood if an NRL position opens up for the 2012 season, Stuart has the option in his Origin contract to ask for a release.


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