Renouf urges Maroons to lock in Bennett

Ed Jackson
·3-min read

Steve Renouf has urged Queensland to do all they can to keep Wayne Bennett as State of Origin coach.

The Maroons are one game away from an unlikely series victory after their game one triumph, with Bennett credited for a halftime turnaround which led to Queensland overcoming a 10-0 deficit to defeat NSW 18-14.

Bennett stepped in as Maroons coach at the last minute following Kevin Walters' appointment as Brisbane's NRL coach and the QRL are reportedly seeking to keep the 70-year-old in the position in 2021 and beyond.

The veteran coach insists he can balance both state and club duties and Renouf said keeping Bennett on board made sense.

"Without a doubt. He's just shown in one game, let alone, I'm sure if they'll take the series, what he brings to Origin," Renouf told AAP.

"If you just go on what the boys are saying, they talked even prior to the match, a few of the boys were saying how good he was.

"A lot of the stories coming out after on how he can get these boys up. That's what they need."

Bennett is adamant he won't be making any decisions on his long-term future in the role until after this year's series.

If he does stay on he'll be Queensland's first coach since Michael Hagan in 2005 to combine the position with a fulltime NRL role.

Having previously coached club and state teams simultaneously, Bennett sees no reason why he would have to choose between the Maroons or South Sydney if he does stay on.

"I did it seven times before so I don't know what's changed," Bennett said.

Queensland will go in to Wednesday's Game II at 1-17 after centre Kurt Capewell completed Tuesday's captain's run, with Bennett declaring the centre fit to play.

Capewell's inclusion leaves Queensland with just three changes to their starting line-up for the ANZ Stadium clash.

Valentine Holmes will play his first Origin at fullback and first since 2018 in place of the injured AJ Brimson (foot) while Christian Welch's omission after his game one head knock has opened the door for Dunamis Lui to debut in the front-row.

Jaydn Su'A has also been elevated from the interchange bench with Coen Hess axed after his quiet Game I display.

Gold Coast frontrower Moeaki Fotuaika will take Su'A's place on the bench for what will be his first Queensland Origin appearance as well.

Queensland will fly to Sydney on Wednesday ahead of the game knowing they have won just nine of 29 Origins at ANZ Stadium.

Bennett, however, was dismissive of the venue being an obstacle to his team's chances of wrapping up the series.

"I don't struggle down there. I don't know whether they'll (players) struggle," he said.

"Five or six of them in the team have just played in a grand final down there and four of them were on the winning team so they don't struggle."