AAP Rugby

NSW have ‘out-Origined’ Qld: Slater

By AAP Newswire

For years Queensland may have set the State of Origin benchmark but Billy Slater admits NSW have "out-Origined" his side this series as the Maroons look to avoid a rare whitewash.

Slater said he was humbled to become Queensland's 14th skipper after replacing centre Greg Inglis (broken thumb) for next week's Origin game three in Brisbane.

He has been handed the Maroons captaincy for the first time ahead of his 31st and final Origin.

But Slater said his priority would be to avoid NSW's first whitewash in 18 years and only fourth overall.

And he reckoned the Maroons could do worse than learn from NSW's approach this year.

Queensland have been a dominant Origin force, winning 11 of the last 12 series.

However, veteran fullback Slater admitted a rookie-riddled NSW had set the Origin benchmark in 2018 after claiming only their second series win in 13 years.

"There have been games where we have scraped in by two points when we shouldn't have won the game but did somehow," Slater said at Queensland's fan day at Hervey Bay on Tuesday.

"That is what the Blues have done this year. They have probably out-Origined us.

"Hopefully this group of guys can learn from it and become better players for it."

That will be easier said than done without Inglis, bench utility Kalyn Ponga (hamstring) and fiery prop Dylan Napa (knee) in game three.

And in their first year without the big three - retired greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

But Slater was convinced Queensland could begin their revival by avoiding a series "Blue-rinse" in July 11's dead rubber at Suncorp Stadium.

"A lot of these guys it is their first series and for me it is important for them to feel that winning feeling in Origin," he said.

"The Blues have played really well and in that last game they didn't do anything brilliant, but they won the game.

"Sometimes you have got to do that in Origin. In our successful decade we have beaten them just be resilience and turning up...through heart and effort.

"This group of guys deserve something to take out of this year's series - it is about celebrating after the game.

"That is my goal."

Slater, 35, admitted he was still getting his head around being handed the Maroons reins after a hectic countdown to what was supposed to be a weekend game three team announcement.

Inglis' injury in South Sydney's NRL win over North Queensland delayed the Maroons' scheduled Sunday night team unveiling until Monday.

In the end, Slater was named skipper of a team for just the second time in his glittering career.

"It is a huge honour. Only 13 men have had the opportunity to lead this great team ... my game doesn't change. My approach doesn't change," he said.