Despite calls for Greg Inglis to take over as Queensland’s fullback, Billy Slater says he never felt under pressure to retain the Maroons’ No.1 jersey.
Queensland fullback Billy Slater never felt his position in the Maroons’ line-up was under threat despite Greg Inglis’s stellar form in the No.1 jersey for South Sydney.
The Melbourne custodian has been named at fullback for next week’s series opener in Brisbane and says he was always confident that would be the outcome once he’d regained full fitness from the knee injury sustained in last year’s World Cup.
While Slater had a slow start to the season with the Storm, Inglis was shining for the Rabbitohs including his remarkable 89m solo try against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium where he beat six Broncos in an astonishing display of speed and power.
That display in particular had tongues wagging, with ex-Maroons star Steve Renouf leading the call for Inglis to move to fullback at Slater’s expense for the May 28 Origin opener against NSW.
Not that Slater paid much attention to that talk.
“Only running for two weeks prior to round one certainly wasn’t ideal for me coming back from a knee injury,” Slater said.
“I knew once I got fit and my knee kept improving, I’d get back to my standard of football. Obviously, Greg’s a great player.
“I’ve played alongside Greg for nearly 10 years so I’m very conscious of what he’s capable of and I’m just glad he’s in our side and I’m there as well.”
Slater says he and Storm teammates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk are getting back to their best just in time for the Origin campaign.
The trio all played leading roles in Melbourne’s demolition of Souths at ANZ Stadium last week, with Slater scoring a double in the 27-14 win.
“Obviously, the last couple of weeks has been our best fortnight this year,” Slater said.
“It’s just ideal that we’re playing Origin now.
“It’s taken a little bit to get up and running this year but I thought our last game was probably our best game. Hopefully, we can continue to work hard and play some good football next Wednesday.”