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Usually mister calm and collected, Billy Slater ‘like an angry dad’ at Origin camp

Queensland coach Billy Slater is driving standards like an “angry dad” in Maroons camp ahead of the State of Origin series decider.

Jul 10, 2024, updated Jul 10, 2024
Ben Hunt (left) and coach Billy Slater during a Queensland Maroons training session at Sanctuary Cove Country Club  (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Ben Hunt (left) and coach Billy Slater during a Queensland Maroons training session at Sanctuary Cove Country Club (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

That’s the word from veteran hooker Ben Hunt, who was in hard-hitting meetings as the Maroons engaged in truth sessions about what went wrong in the 38-18 loss in game two and how to fix it on July 17 at Suncorp Stadium.

Hunt, set to play his 20th Origin match for the Maroons and receive the prestigious FOGS Dick ‘Tosser’ Turner Medal, said the video review session of the MCG clash was brutal.

“We had a look at the Melbourne game and it was definitely a tough watch that is for sure. Billy definitely had honest conversations with a fair few of us,” Hunt said.

“(Slater) was like the angry dad. He pointed a few things out that he wasn’t happy with.

“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.”

Slater was also looking within himself to find reasons for the loss. The Maroons trailed by a record 34-0 in Melbourne.

“Without doubt I have looked at myself before I looked at anyone else,” Slater said.

“There are mistakes in my preparation (before game two) and mistakes in my performance. I will be owning that and I will learn from it,” he said.

The Maroons coach consistently sought improvement as a player and that has not changed as a mentor.

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“Yeah. If it is not a challenge you are not trying hard enough. If there is not pressure involved and there are not nerves you are not trying hard enough,” he said.

“You have to be outside your comfort zone and throw your hat in the ring and give it a go. That is what the players will be doing and why we are here.”

There is no doubt that the way the Maroons lost in Melbourne hurt the players and Hunt welcomed having Slater lay down the law.

“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,” Hunt said. “I have always loved coaches like that. 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.”

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