Ruling himself out, Andrew Johns has endorsed Brad Fittler as the next NSW State of Origin coach if Laurie Daley exits.
Fellow NSW greats Johns and Fittler were thrown up as leading coaching contenders in the wake of the Blues' latest dispiriting series defeat, the fourth in five years under Daley.
But Johns doesn't want the job.
'I've seen what it does, especially this series, with the pressure on Laurie Daley but also (Queensland coach) Kevin Walters was under, I don't need that in my life,' Johns said on the Nine Network on Sunday.
'If Laurie was not to continue, I think Brad Fittler served his apprenticeship with (NSW) City Country. He's had great success with the City team, and I think he'd be ready to step in.'
Fittler refused to comment on his availability until Daley's future was decided but, significantly, didn't rule out the possibility.
'At the moment there's no job and Laurie Daley is a really good mate of mine. I pay him all the respect,' Fittler said on the Nine Network.
'Obviously there's a decision either he's making or the league's making and until that happens, nothing will be said or considered.'
But that didn't stop the the former NSW skipper from calling on the state's NRL players to begin campaigning immediately as the search continues for players to end Queensland's reign.
It came after Fittler and Blues legend Glenn Lazarus agreed with NSW's most successful coach Phil Gould that the Blues lacked a strong player leadership group.
'Leadership's a life commitment. You just can't be a leader one day because Phil Gould or someone else says we need leaders,' Fittler said.
'When you look at the leaders in Queensland, they lead week in, week out. They play the same football week in, week out. They show each of the teammates they play with they're desperate.
'Over this period, we've missed that. We haven't got the players that are leaders inside out.
'The good thing is there's an opportunity for any NSW player who wants to stand up, be a leader and work hard. There's a position there for you.'
Johns said he would consider helping Fittler as an assistant coach or consultant.
'I haven't really given it much thought but I love the state that much and love the jersey that I'd give it a strong consideration,' he said.