NRL 3 years ago

Walters confirms Slater to return to number 1

  • Walters confirms Slater to return to number 1

Newly appointed Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters has made sure that there is no speculating when it comes to the number one position in his side, saying that Melbourne's Billy Slater is a certain starter

Walters, who has succeeded the very successful era of Mal Meninga, who has gone on to coach the Australian Rugby League side, says that Slater has nothing left to prove at the top level and is an automatic starter as long as he plays.

Slater missed the demolition job of New South Wales in game three of the Origin series last year with a shoulder injury, that ruled him out for the rest of the Home and Away season.

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Walters said only further injury will stop Slater from regaining the number one off former Storm team-mate Greg Inglis for the first Origin game in Sydney on June 1.

"Billy will go back to fullback and Greg will go back to the centres so that will mean [Will] Chambers can go into Hodgo's spot at right centre. That's how I see it at the moment," Walters said.

"Billy brings so much to the side.

"He brings a lot of energy, his speed, his acceleration and his communication and his all around game.

"Billy's got to get back playing but if you look back over the past five or six years, in all those Queensland wins Billy Slater is pretty prominent at fullback."

Slater has had surgery on both shoulders inside the last six months and coach Walters believes he'll be better for it.

"It will just freshen him up. He'll be a lot fresher having missed the back-half of last season," Walters said.

"I think he's done his first pre-season in a long time which is good. That's always good for a player, to get that good base to work on."

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