'Great honour and privilege': Hetherington returned as coach
RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton's Jason Hetherington will coach the Queensland State of Origin women's team for another two years.
The former Maroons and Kangaroos hooker was widely praised for his work in his first season at the helm this year and the extension means he can step up future planning and help shape the progress of state's emerging talent.
Hetherington is no stranger to the Origin arena, having played eight games for the Maroons and more recently being heavily involved in the men's Origin set-up.
The 45-year-old is excited about his reappointment.
"It's a great honour and a privilege and obviously I'm really pleased that they've given me the opportunity to do it again for the next two years,” he said.
"Now I've got a couple of years to work on certain things and get our program going.
"I really enjoyed this season and I'm very proud of the girls and what they did. I thought we conducted ourselves well.”
NSW took the honours with a hard-fought 16-10 victory in the inaugural women's Origin played at North Sydney Oval in June.
It was played in front of nearly 7000 spectators and was watched by more than one million television viewers.
Central Queensland's Chelsea Baker, Mariah Storch and Rhiannon Revell-Blair were part of the team.
Hetherington said women's rugby league was getting stronger and stronger and there was now a clear pathway for players looking to reach the elite level.
He said he had wonderful support staff around him in former Jillaroos' stars Karyn Murphy and Nat Dywer.
Hetherington plans to give the players a good rest, given their demanding schedule in the back end of this year.
He said that barring injury and availability, he expected to be working with a similar group of players next year.
"We'll probably kick off in March. We will have a squad of about 25 come in and we'll go from there,” he said.
"It will be similar to what we did last year - but with a lot more knowledge this time around.”
Hetherington worked hard to instil the feel of what Origin is all about and the passion for the jersey, bringing former greats such as Allan Langer and Trevor Gillmeister into the fold.
"The girls responded really well to what we did,” he said.
"The way they dealt with the loss was a real positive; it cut them deep, which was a sign that this means a lot of them.
"Queensland's success means a lot to them and to me as well so hopefully we can come away with the win next year, and in due time, get a couple of home games.”