‘I’ve spent loads of time doing it’: Slater’s frosty response to huge Maroons query

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Maroons coach Billy Slater has refused to rule out making late modifications to his facet for the State of Origin opener in a tense press convention.

Chatting with media in Sydney on Tuesday morning, Slater failed to verify his facet would run out for tomorrow night time’s extremely anticipated conflict as they had been named.

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“We’ve nonetheless received just a little little bit of time to go however we’ll make that call nearer to kick off. We’ve received till an hour earlier than kick off earlier than the staff goes in and that’s when it’ll be closing,” Slater mentioned.

The Queensland coach was fast to reiterate his confidence in his facet, stating he’s “spent loads of time doing it [picking his side].”

“I do know I’ve spent extra time watching our Queenslanders than some other individual.”

Slater added “while you’re on this place you’ve gotta make choices,” alluding to his resolution to depart Titans again rower David Fifita out of his facet whereas together with Brisbane exterior again Selwyn Cobbo on his bench.

“Each resolution that I’ve made for this footy staff, and this state, is for this footy staff and for the state. That’s why I’m standing right here. I’m right here for Queensland. That is Queensland’s staff and typically there’s some robust choices to make.”

Regardless of Slater remaining coy about potential late modifications to his lineup, the Queensland coach all however dominated out dropping Selwyn Cobbo from his bench earlier than Wednesday night time’s kick off.

“Selwyn’s been nice. He’s actually matured during the last couple of years. He’s a beautiful participant. He can play numerous positions. On the finish of the day you simply need Selwyn Cobbo out on the sphere,” Slater mentioned.

“The place that’s, you already know, we’ve received a little bit of an concept round that, however that may change as effectively as a result of during the last two years there’s been extra occasions than not that gamers have needed to be interchanged via damage and for various causes.”

The QLD coach mentioned he felt “fairly good” about Cobbo’s presence on his bench, earlier than including he “by no means had any doubts” in regards to the composition of his interchange regardless of some, together with Maroons nice Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin, questioning Cobbo’s inclusion.

With seemingly no modifications to his 17 forward of tomorrow night time’s kick off, hypothesis is rising about what, if any, modifications Slater will make to his beginning facet earlier than the Sydney sequence opener. At no level in his Origin teaching profession has Slater altered his hooker rotation on gameday, that means Ben Hunt will possible retain his beginning position with Harry Grant to be injected from the pine.

Billy hints at Maroons late changes

Historical past would counsel any sport day Maroons modifications will come within the forwards. Forward of final yr’s sequence opened Slater moved each his beginning props – Tom Flegler and Lindsay Collins – with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Reuben Cotter, whereas 2023’s Recreation Two noticed Fleger elevated to the beginning facet after being initially named on the bench and Cotter moved off the pine into the again row, with fellow Cowboy Jeremiah Nanai making manner.

Nonetheless, accidents to Tino, Flegler, Tom Gilbert and Jai Arrow have considerably depleted Queensland’s center ahead shares for Recreation One.

Cotter, Fleger and Patrick Carrigan have been named to begin, with Mo Fotuaika and J’Maine Hopgood coming off the bench. If any modifications are to be made, it’s extra possible for Fotuaika to be elevated to the beginning facet rather than certainly one of Slater’s beginning props. Alternatively, Cotter may very well be shifted into the again row with certainly one of Nanai or Jaydn Su’a making manner.

Time will inform whether or not any of those modifications will come to fruition, with Slater taking part in his playing cards extremely near his chest.

Initially printed as ‘As a result of I’ve spent loads of time doing it’: Slater’s frosty response to huge Maroons query

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