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Wayne Bennett to make shock return as Queensland coach 16 years after last coaching Origin

Wayne Bennett will make a stunning return to State of Origin after being named Queensland coach for the 2020 series.

Wayne Bennett. Source: Photosport

The Maroons announced on Friday that Bennett would take over for the series after new Brisbane coach Kevin Walters was forced to step away from the job.

With less than five weeks until the opening Origin clash in Adelaide, Bennett's experience under current NRL rules as South Sydney coach won him the role.

It has been 16 years since Bennett coached a Queensland side, but during his time he won five of seven series for the Maroons.

He also masterminded the first series clean sweep for the state in 1988.

His appointment leaves the door open for Queensland to appoint a coach with no NRL ties for 2021 and beyond.

"I love coaching Queensland and I'm extremely humbled to be invited to coach this team again, particularly in light of the challenging circumstances with Kevin moving on to coach the Broncos," Bennett said.

"I'm very proud and pleased that I'm still able to do it.

"State of Origin means so much to the people of Queensland.

"It's been a difficult year for many people and I just want to give something back if I can."

It comes two days before South Sydney are set to face Newcastle in an elimination final at ANZ Stadium.

Should the Rabbitohs make it all the way to the grand final on October 25, it will give Bennett just over a week to prepare the Maroons for game one of the three-week series that starts on November 4.