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Queensland captain Billy Slater has capped off his State of Origin career by becoming the first player to claim the Wally Lewis medal from a losing state.
Slater missed the series-opener with injury but was one of the Maroons’ best in their game-two defeat, and was again superb in his farewell match in game three.
He finished Wednesday night with 136 metres, three line break assists and a try assist.
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» WATCH: All the highlights as Queensland send Billy Slater out a winner
He also became just the second player after Arthur Beetson to captain an Origin side after his 35th birthday, having been appointed to the role following an injury to Greg Inglis.
“This is really special. Wally was a hero while I was growing up. To win this award for the second time will go down as one of my biggest achievements,” Slater said after the match.
The medal is decided by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and national selectors Darren Lockyer and Laurie Daley.
NSW fullback James Tedesco was man of the match in game one, while Blues skipper Boyd Cordner took the honours in game two.
But having the player of the series come from a side that only won a dead rubber and by someone that didn’t play the first game didn’t go down well across the board.
Former Blues captain Paul Gallen said Cordner was unlucky not to win the medal.
“I cant help but feel sorry for a NSW player not to win the Wally Lewis Medal. They (NSW) won the series. Someone like Boyd Cordner thoroughly deserved it,” he said on the Nine Network.
“He was the best forward on the field in game one.
“Cordner was man of the match in game two and I thought he played well tonight – 80 minutes in those two games. I’m a little bit disappointed for a Blues player not to win it”.