Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Billy Slater was officially unveiled as Queensland’s State of Origin head coach for next year’s series earlier today following months of speculation that he would be next in line for the role.
The QRL recently parted ways with former coach Paul Green after just one year in the job after his Maroons side lost the 2021 series.
Slater has since spoken about the announcement via the QRL’s website.
“I’m very honoured to be able to have been involved with the Queensland State of Origin team… firstly as a supporter when I was a young boy, inspired by the team, then I got the opportunity to play for Queensland and be one of those players, and now I get the chance to help guide and help bring through the next generation,” Slater said.
“It’s a great honour to be the Queensland coach. I was drawn to the role because I care and because it’s important to me.
— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) September 23, 2021
“At the end of the day, I’m a Queenslander. This team means a lot to me. It always has. It has been a big part of my life for the majority of my life and now I get the opportunity to help other people, not only fulfil their dream, but inspire a whole state.”
When looking at what makes a representative coach suitable for their role, prior experience coaching at club level and tactical intellect realistically should not be considered.
At the end of the day, the players who are picked to play State of Origin are world-class athletes that are coming together to play other world-class athletes, and at that level, they don’t need an out and out coach but a mentor.
Overcomplicating things at a representative level, especially in State of Origin, by creating unnecessary game plans for three games spaced out across two months that have no bearing on the nine-month-long NRL season can put these players in the wrong mindset for the contest that lies ahead and cause them to not play at the level that saw them selected for Origin.
Essentially, a State of Origin head coach is there to run his team through drills, motivate them and build chemistry, something that New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has executed perfectly and why Billy Slater is the perfect man for the job at Queensland.
As a Maroons legend, Slater will come into the squad come Origin time next year and act as an inspiration for his side to put on the best possible performance they can, as he shows them what it truly means to represent one’s state.