Meninga wants Boyd not Slater for Maroons

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    He didn’t deem Billy Slater good enough to reclaim his Australian Test jumper and now Mal Meninga doesn’t believe the superstar fullback is ready for a State of Origin recall either.

    Slater may well be an Immortal in waiting, but Meninga says the superstar fullback can also wait to earn his 28th Origin appearance for Queensland after missing last year’s series following shoulder surgery.

    Even after nominating Test and Queensland incumbent No.1 Darius Boyd as his fullback for Origin I in Brisbane on May 31, Meninga can’t find room for Slater – the in-form ex-Dally M Medallist and world player of the year – on a wing.

    “I’m not quite sure if it’s a surprise, but I’ve just gone with combinations,” the Maroons legend and nine-times series-winning coach told Fox Sports’ Queenslanders Only program.

    “Obviously from the Kangaroo game as well just recently against the Kiwis (and) talking about combinations from last year.

    “Billy wasn’t there, so I’ve still got Justin O’Neill in there. I thought he did a terrific job for the Maroons last year on the right side.”

    Meninga wants Valentine Holmes, Will Chambers, Justin O’Neill and Dane Gagai as his three quarters for the series opener and believes a strong showing from Holmes against North Queensland on Thursday night will clinch the Cronulla flyer an Origin debut.

    The Kangaroos coach also says 31-game Origin stalwart Nate Myles deserves to retain his place in Queensland’s starting side despite an inauspicious start to the NRL season with the Manly.

    Maroons great Justin Hodges agrees, saying Myles has proven himself time and again during Queensland’s decade of dominance.

    “When that Queensland side gets picked, he’s the guy you look for: Nate Myles,” Hodges said.

    “I don’t know how many times over that 10-year period he got players’ player or player of the series for Queensland, because that’s how much he means for Queensland.

    “I know there’s a lot of people out there saying he’s too old, he’s not doing this and that.

    “No one cares what they think because you put him in that maroon jersey and he’ll do his best. He’ll never let you down and I know that’s what he brings to the side.”

    Preferring hard nuts Sam Thaiday and Dylan Napa on the bench, Meninga believes Myles is a must to start against the Blues.

    “And playing 30 minutes a game (for his club side) doesn’t really worry me. He’ll come up for it and he’s pretty fresh because of it too as well,” Meninga said.

    “‘Mylesy’ loves the maroon jersey and he’ll do everything he possibly can for his mates and that’s what matters to him.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • May 18th 2017 @ 6:08am
      Zero Gain said | May 18th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      Pick and stick. It’s the Queensland way.

      • Roar Guru

        May 18th 2017 @ 12:29pm
        The Barry said | May 18th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        I wonder how Corey Oates feels about the pick and stick theory…?

        It’s Queensland’s way when they want it to be…

        • Roar Guru

          May 19th 2017 @ 8:51am
          Emcie said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          To be fair, QLD’s pick and stick has never been about picking a guy and never picking anyone one else, it’s more about not dropping proven performers because they’re out of favour in the media or their club form is down. The media was calling for Locky to be dropped afer game one in 2006 (which seems ludicrous now) and civinociva and price were called too old for just about every series they played. You’ve also got guys like Thiaday and Miles that wouldn’t get a look in at the blues against younger players

          • Roar Rookie

            May 19th 2017 @ 12:26pm
            William Dalton Davis said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

            We’re the media calling for him to be dropped? From memory I thought they were calling for him to be moved to fullback and Lockyer said if you don’t want me at 6 then drop me.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 7:26am
      The eye said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      yeah,they have just so many reasons why they should change every year..

    • May 18th 2017 @ 9:36am
      kk said | May 18th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Mal won’t risk Billy but Laurie will gamble on Jarryd.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 18th 2017 @ 9:51am
      Squidward said | May 18th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      If Mal wants to pick Nate and not Billy then maybe he shouldn’t have take the coach of Queensland Michael Hagan off to the Kangaroos coaching staff

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:01am
      P. Marlowe said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      I dunno – from what I saw on the Saturday double header, Billy looks in phenomenal touch/fitness where Darius looks like he doesn’t want to take contact at the moment. Not sure if he is injured or something but he seemed very reluctant to take a kick return (which isn’t a great sign for the physical battle in Origin). I would be picking Billy based on their form this season.

      I also don’t think O’Neil has looked very good for the Cows this year either (acknowledging he has had injuries).

      • May 18th 2017 @ 10:10am
        Craig said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        I agree. Boyd on the wing for me.

      • Roar Pro

        May 18th 2017 @ 10:38am
        MrJSquishy said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        Completely agree PM. Also, how can Mal say he’s looking at combinations and not pick Slater? Um, Cronk & Smith at 7 & 9? Boyd at fullback is combining with…? Boyd on the wing (because he is good under the high ball and will be better suited to nullifying Pearce’s, or Maloney’s bombs in the corner). Slater roving in the middle of the park running off Cronk and Smith is a no-brainer. This is how the QLD team lined up prior to Slater being injured…

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:43am
      Mike Dugg said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      Billy will get smashed. Boyd is a better defender and safer choice. Nate Myles and Thaiday are past it

      • May 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm
        souvalis said | May 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        Thought that Nate Miles was outstanding in the 1st half last week…part of the fabric of this Maroons side..

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