Billy Slater says Queensland are way of a matured Jarryd Hayne ahead of the State of Origin series.
Queensland fullback Billy Slater says his interstate opposite Jarryd Hayne is in the sort of form that could finally inspire a NSW State of Origin series win.
Slater says Hayne was Australia’s leading playing in their World Cup win last year and has further matured on the field in Parramatta’s impressive start to the NRL season.
Hayne has been a key factor in the Eels’ resurgence under new coach Brad Arthur and was again in sublime form in Parramatta’s 36-0 thumping of St George Illawarra on Saturday.
After much debate over his best position for the Blues, the Eels skipper is set to be chosen at fullback when NSW coach Laurie Daley names his team on Tuesday for the Origin opener in Brisbane on May 28.
Slater said Hayne shapes as an Origin wildcard for the Blues.
“He is a great player, he is an outstanding player, and he is playing some really good football this year,” Slater said.
“He seems to have matured a lot with the captaincy.
“Last year with the World Cup he was probably the best Australian player on tour.
“There is a lot of debate as to where to play him … it doesn’t matter he is out on the field.
“So he will be dangerous if he is out on the field.”
However the Melbourne custodian warned Queensland’s desire to continue their Origin dominance hasn’t lessened any despite their eight-year reign.
“It is State Of Origin, we are playing for Queensland, it is not about taking the foot off the accelerator,” Slater said.
“It is about bettering ourselves and playing the best we possibly can for our state and the players that have played before us.
“That is good enough motivation for me, I don’t think you need any more.
“We have had a great run but there is no reason we should want to take the foot off the accelerator.”
NSW have been beset by injury and suspension, but Slater says that won’t be a factor.
“It doesn’t matter who they pick they have so many great players to chose from, the last few series have been really tight,” he said.