Sport Slater to walk before Origin III: Gould

12:06  16 may  2018
12:06  16 may  2018 Source:

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Forty metres out, skipper Darren Lockyer kicked ahead and Slater regathered on the fly, swerving, stepping and turning the defence inside out before kicking ahead to score for himself. Asked about Hampstead's involvement in Origin III , Gould said he should be kept "as far away from it as possible".

Morgan steamed onto a pass from Billy Slater to attract the centre and wing defenders before flicking the ball behind him to winger Dane Gagai who stepped inside to score five metres in from touch. Gould lashes Bennett for Origin talk. Slater dived for first try.

a hand holding a football ball© Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Former Blues coach and Nine commentator Phil Gould believes Billy Slater will retire from representative football before the end of the 2018 State Origin series due to the hot form of young gun Kalyn Ponga.

The Newcastle fullback has been electrifying in attack during the opening ten weeks of the competition and his form will be hard to ignore for Queensland coach Kevin Walters.

Speaking on Six Tackles with Gus, the Penrith GM said it would not be long until Slater follows Cameron Smith into representative retirement ending an era which has seen other champion Maroons players like Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk also call it quits.

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“Watch Woods and Fifita walk ,” Phil Gould said. “See they’re just lazing around. That’s Origin football right there. Slater passed to the halfback when he drew NSW fullback James Tedesco but Cronk dived too early and lost the ball just inches before the line.

Suncorp Stadium proved to be a graveyeard for the Blues thanks to one of the greatest Origin tries ever seen. 20-year-old Billy Slater , a former track work jockey who had burst onto the rugby league scene Game III . Gould gambled by making six changes to the side which had played in game II.

Gould declared Ponga will be picked at fullback for Queensland during the 2018 series which suggests Slater’s days are numbered regardless of how well the Maroons are playing.

The former champion coach is adamant that Ponga is playing better football than Slater and the youngster’s boot will prove to be valuable since Queensland won’t have Smith rely to on.

“Billy Slater at some stage through this series will hand over the reigns to Kalyn Ponga,” Gould said.

“Kalyn Ponga will play Origin this year. Billy Slater will see that and hand it on to him.”

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Queensland's team for origin III . Medical opinion was that Slater could risk his entire NRL season by playing before his posterior cruciate ligament injury had been properly strengthened and healed.

By Phil Gould . Big decision: Tthe Blues face a dilemma in Origin III . The Storm were travelling smoothly, even without Slater and Chambers, but have struggled in recent weeks with a number of other players now missing.

Gould even stoked speculation that the champion fullback may even call it quits before the start of this year’s interstate series.

“Whether he does that straight away, I don’t know,” he said.

“Cameron Smith’s decision might influence Billy as far as this series is concerned. They’re both at the same stage of their careers.

“If Billy plays, I still think at some stage this series he will hand over to Kalyn Ponga.”

“Billy Slater is the greatest fullback I have ever seen. Ever. I have never seen a fullback do what he does on the field. Not just the stuff you got to see but the stuff that could have happened because he was always in the area and the amount of ground he covers.

“But right now, today, Kalyn Ponga is having more influence on results than Billy Slater. Father time is undefeated. Billy is playing well, but nowhere near at the start of his career.

“If Cooper Cronk’s not going to be there and Cameron Smith’s not going to be there does that really say Billy is going to be able to go in there and play the type of football that he wants to play. Or do we look for a whole fresh new start. I would like to see them blood the kid at some stage.

“It’s only a matter of time.”

Gus: 'NSW can't defend their way to victory' .
Nine NRL commentator Phil Gould has warned NSW they won’t be able to beat the Queensland in this year’s State of Origin series by playing a defensive game. The teams will be announced on Monday for the opening game of the series at the MCG on June 6 and there is already plenty of interest with speculation that both states will usher in a new generation. The Maroons will be without talismanic captain Cameron Smith after he recently announced his retirement, while the Blues could undergo wholesale changes under new coach Brad Fittler as he looks to break Queensland's stranglehold on the series.

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