Sport Why Slater flatly ignored Origin icons' advice

07:40  24 september  2021
07:40  24 september  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Billy Slater will coach Queensland. © Getty Billy Slater will coach Queensland.

Newly appointed Queensland coach Billy Slater has rejected claims a lack of coaching experience will be a hindrance in his role, declaring he's open to help but will tackle the position his own way.

Slater, who played 31 Origins and was an integral member of Queensland's eight-year domination, was named as Paul Green's replacement after the premiership winner suffered a 2-1 defeat this year in his debut series as coach. It was revealed earlier this month that Green and the QRL had agreed to part ways.

In the lead-up to Slater's elevation from Maroons selector to head coach, NSW mentor Brad Fittler questioned whether Slater could tackle Origin coaching without some sort of prior head coaching experience.

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Before taking the Blues job in 2018, Fittler had previous experience as a head coach for the Roosters, between 2007 and 2009.

After a successful first season, things turned sour and he was eventually sacked with a 43 per cent win rate. He also coached NSW Under 16s and Under 18s before being given a chance at senior level.

"If I'm going to be frank, I don't think I'm going to know the game any better in three years time than I do now," Slater told Wide World of Sports, when asked if he had considered Fittler's advice.

"I think I know the game as good as I can now but I'm under no illusion I'm going to make mistakes and evolve as a coach.

"Look, Freddy and I have a really respectful relationship I think he's done a fantastic job with the NSW team. In the four years he's been in charge he's created a really good culture.

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"From afar it's something you have to admire. We've got a different team, different culture in Queensland. It's our own."

Billy Slater, Craig Bellamy are posing for a picture: Billy Slater has played under Craig Bellamy his entire NRL career. © Getty Billy Slater has played under Craig Bellamy his entire NRL career.

There's been speculation Slater will look to bring fellow rugby league greats and former Maroons teammates Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston, who was an assistant to Green this year, into the fold in some capacity for next year's series.

Slater confirmed he'll appoint assistants in the coming months and is willing to work with Queensland greats to get the Maroons back to the top. Reports leading up to Slater's appointment claimed a senior mentor like Wayne Bennett was being sought to help the rookie coach with the transition.

The Maroons great said having a mentor overseeing his tenure wasn't part of the deal with the QRL, but he's open to receiving help, although he's "confident" of doing it his way.

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  Slater named as next Qld Origin coach Queensland State of Origin legend Billy Slater has been confirmed as the Maroons' new coach, signing a two-year deal to replace Paul Green.The ex-fullback will lead his state in the next two State of Origin campaigns in what will be his first senior coaching role since retiring in 2018.

Slater represented Australia in 30 Test matches and played 323 games for the Melbourne Storm, while playing 31 games for Queensland. He's effectively spent 12 months of his life in Origin camp.

Slater has had an active role around Queensland's Origin camp since his retirement from the game at the end of 2018 © Getty Slater has had an active role around Queensland's Origin camp since his retirement from the game at the end of 2018

He said he doesn't have to look too far to find inspiration in the coaching ranks having won multiple premierships with Craig Bellamy and a bagful of Origin series under Mal Meninga.

Having spent his entire career at the Storm, Slater admits there will be "elements" of Bellamy's approach in the way he handles things, yet he will ultimately craft his own identity as a coach.

"I spoke to a few people and craig was one of them. I've got a great relationship with Craig and it goes further than a player and a coach," he said.

"I'm the person and coach that I am now because of the experiences I've had and Craig has been a big part of those. Am I going to be the same coach? No I don't think so.

"But there will be elements of his coaching philosophy that would have rubbed off on me. But at the same time there have been times in my career when I've challenged Craig to do things differently.

"That's what it's all about is crafting your own style and I'm looking forward to unearth that."

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