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Old guard reunites to guide Maroons

The key personnel that drove the North Queensland Cowboys to a historic NRL premiership in 2015 will reunite to spearhead the Queensland Maroons’ 2021 State of Origin campaign.

Maroons coach Paul Green, who was at the helm of the Cowboys team that beat the Brisbane Broncos in the grand final, has already enlisted former Cowboy Johnathan Thurston as one of his assistant coaches.

Thurston famously booted the extra-time field goal to seal the premiership win for the Cowboys, whose stunning achievement in 2015 was heavily supported by performance specialists Andrew Croll and Paul Bowman.

Paul Bowman. Photo: NRL
Paul Bowman. Photo: NRL

Green has confirmed Croll will work as the Maroons’ new head of performance for this year’s series, while Bowman will come on board to oversee the sports science and strength and conditioning components.

“Both Andrew and Paul are leaders in their respective fields and it’s great to have them back together on staff for this year’s series,” Green said.

“Together with JT, they have achieved success in the past.

“Having Neil (Henry) on board as an assistant coach adds another layer of experience and stability as well.”

Croll, who now works at the Brisbane Broncos as the club’s head of performance, said he was thrilled to get the chance to work with Green and the Maroons.

“I’m really excited with the opportunity to be involved in the biggest showcase of our sport,” Croll said.

“As a kid growing up, you want to play State of Origin – I knew that wasn’t going to happen to me, but you watch it as a fan every year, so to be part of it is unbelievable.

“I’ve worked with a lot of the players in the squad, and I’m looking forward to contributing in any way I can.”

Bowman, who currently heads up the Cowboys’ performance program, is eager to get to work with the Maroons.

“State of Origin is a great environment to be involved in,” said Bowman, who played 12 Origin matches for Queensland between 2000 and 2005.

“It’s such a prestigious team and the whole Origin concept is something that inspires us all. I’m privileged and excited to be involved.”