Billy Slater’s fullback name on Reece Walsh and Kalyn Ponga is the primary large blunder of his Origin reign

We Blues followers have been sobered this week by information Billy Slater might choose each Reece Walsh and Kalyn Ponga in his Maroons facet to manage this yr’s routine State of Origin beating.

Responding to how he’d handle the first-world headache of accommodating two luxurious fullbacks in a single crew, the coach’s replies of “all the pieces’s a chance” and “they’d like to be teammates” was sufficient to ship shivers via the state at a time when our focus ought to be on cricket and sweat rash.

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But when the considered protecting these two quiet is supplying you with hives, by no means fear- as a result of Slater’s simply performed himself like a Nintendo.

If historical past’s something to go by, we’ll look again upon this second as the primary wonderful misstep in his reign of gentlemanly terror.


Not solely is Slater’s mere consideration of choosing each talismen a vulgar flaunt of wealth, very like having an additional arm surgically hooked up in your surplus Gucci watches and winners rings.

However extra importantly, it’s the primary signal he’s bamboozled by his personal emperor’s buffet and within the course of, is reworking in to the enemy himself.

Positive, it might take a daring man to withstand pimping-up their facet with two of the comp’s slipperiest fullbacks loitering out the again like nightclub playboys at closing time.

In any case, think about including the most popular expertise within the sport and the reigning Dally M medallist to a Maroons backline already thrumming on expertise and NSW helplessness?

The revelation alone is value 6-8 factors and a stiff breeze, and higher but, thuds us Blues again to earth after receiving the most effective information we’ve had in years final week with the teaching retirement of Cameron Smith.

Sure, Walsh endured a harrowing finale to 2023 the place he slagged off a fan’s mum and capitulated in a grand ultimate, however for the big half, all the pieces he touched turned to gold.

As for Ponga, he ended on an absolute tear with the Knights culminating in a stint working with toddlers on Play College, the proper simulated match circumstances for coping with the Blues.

It’s a humiliation of riches for Slater, nevertheless it’s truly a blessing in disguise for the Blues.

Many have argued jamming Walsh and Ponga in to the identical 17 may truly play in to NSW’s palms, if NSW is something to go by.

Each are out-and-out fullbacks, and until Peter V’landys has gone rogue on the rule modifications once more, there’s just one spot on the sector for this specialist place.

And till Origin devolves in to a MAFS revenge scandal, Slater might boast about stringing alongside two bombshells — however finally he can’t have each.

This could imply choosing a participant out of place, a transfer seldom employed by Queensland until its eligibility legal guidelines.

As we all know, the observe of shoving sq. pegs in spherical holes in Origin is fraught with hazard, and that’s why NSW do it on a regular basis.

Excluding the Andrew Johns/Brett Kimmorley pickle or the roaming Tommy Turbo challenge, we’ve shoved so many automobiles within the fallacious lanes through the years for returns which were removed from flash.

Are Queensland — the paragon of stability, loyalty and precept — about to go off-piste and mimic the very factor they’ve spent many years mocking?

Sure, you would choose one on the bench and play Ponga at lock or Walsh at five-eighth, however that might be ignoring the Knight’s historical past of concussion and Walsh’s of overstimulation.

And moreover, the place would that depart Ben Hunt, the person who yearly unloads his angst for St George-Illawarra on the Blues?

In abstract, Queensland could also be rolling deep like a rat with a gold tooth, however keep in mind this:

For each efficient Cooper Cronk #14 or Greg Fowl at five-eighth, there’s the entrails of 15 Damien Cooks at centre.

Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic craving for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges have been magic and the Mondays have been mad.

He’s by no means strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

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