Billy Slater's brutal act towards Queensland players comes to light ahead of Origin decider

Slater made his Queensland squad watch back Game 2 in full to kick off training.

Queensland coach Billy Slater has lit a fire under his Maroons side following an embarrassing Game 2 defeat to the Blues, by making the entire squad watch every painstaking second of their MCG loss. After picking his side for the series decider, Slater decided to conduct the first session behind closed doors to lay it all on the line for his side.

Both NSW and Queensland normally give the media and fans extensive access to their training sessions and players on the first Monday after the State of Origin teams are announced. But Slater and the Maroons shut up shop in Queensland on Monday, however, denied the decision had anything to do with his side's performance in the Game 2 thrashing by the Blues.

Billy Slater and Kalyn Ponga.
Billy Slater made his Queensland players re-watch their thrashing in Origin 2. Image: AAP

“No, absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Slater said when asked if the media commitments were a distraction for his stars. “Players talking to media was certainly not a factor in the performance from Game 2. That’s the first time I’ve thought of that when you’ve asked that question.”

The Maroons produced their worst half in Origin’s 44-year history a fortnight ago in Melbourne, allowing NSW to take a 34-0 lead into halftime as their pack was overrun and stars failed to make any impact. And while Slater insisted that cancelling the players' media commitments had nothing to do with their performance in Game 2, hooker Ben Hunt said the former Queensland fullback used the time to come down on not just their overall performance but areas certain players must improve on for the series decider.

“We had a look at the Melbourne game and it was definitely a tough watch, that is for sure,” Hunt told The Courier-Mail. “Billy definitely had honest conversations with a fair few of us. I don’t think there were many guys in that game that could say they played a good game of footy. It was a tough video session but one we needed.

“There were definitely some embarrassing moments for sure. In the first half, there were some real poor defensive errors. They played a great game but we weren’t at our best. He was like the angry dad a bit. He was a bit disappointed in us. We had an honest video session and he pointed a few things out that he wasn’t happy with.

“I don’t like to lose and to lose like that in an Origin jersey definitely burns. We have got to make up for that this week. I have always loved coaches (who are honest). I don’t want my coach to dance around the hard conversations. I want to know where we stand and Billy is one of those. He pointed out a lot of things that went wrong and made guys accountable for their actions.”

TOOWOOMBA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Reece Walsh and Billy Slater are seen during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session & fan day at Toowoomba Sports Ground on June 18, 2024 in Toowoomba, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Billy Slater was furious with the overall performance of Queensland in Game 3.

Blues coach Michael Maguire said on Monday that Queensland appear to be feeling the pressure ahead of the series decider. "I don't know the reasons why they're (not doing a media day), but with the enormity of what the Origin teams means to people, it's the people's team," Maguire said. "We have spoken a lot about what this blue jersey means and what the people mean.

"Wherever you go people are talking about this team. It's really nice to see, where over the years it has probably gone up and down at times."

Slater hit back at the criticism of the lack of access to his team, saying it is unfair, pointing to the fact reporters are not allowed to stay beyond the first 15 minutes of NSW training sessions. Slater was heavily criticised for cancelling day one media access, with suggestions he is feeling the heat. But the Maroons coach says it has nothing to do with that.

"You guys know the access to our players. We don't get our full squad together until mid-afternoon today," Slater said. "They have got some commercial arrangements with the QRL they need to fulfil and we have got to get some footy stuff done.


"You will have access to the majority of the players throughout the 10-day camp. We saw (at the fan day before game two) out at Toowoomba with 8000 people turning up what we give to the people of Queensland and the access we give to our players.

"You guys see that. You get to come down to Sanctuary Cove and watch our training sessions. I feel the access is great. We couldn't quite get everyone available but we do everything possible to get the voices of our players out to the people watching our games. I don't think you should read into it too much."