Video session that makes Blues great fear Billy

It’s very rare for someone to admit they’ll make mistakes in a pressure cooker environment like State of Origin because it could be the difference between winning or losing the series, and we all know what it means to the die-hard footy fans in NSW and Queensland.

The Maroons enter the toughest arena in rugby league with four debutants and a rookie coach.

Billy Slater was asked at his first press conference in camp, what sort of coach he’ll be and the champion fullback replied, “I don’t know yet, I’m going to make mistakes just like the players, but I’ll make them with good intentions.”

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A week later, the State of Origin legend told Tea Sunday Footy Show, “I still don’t know, I’m flying blind … I’m doing my best.”

Those south of the Tweed have latched onto those comments to poke fun at Queensland by suggesting they’re relying on someone who’s never coached before and someone who’s still finding his feet, just a few days out from kick-off.

However I’ve reminded those same critics about the brains trust he’s assembled to prepare the Maroons. While Slater is calling the shots, he is surrounded by former teammates and future Immortals, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

Some people obviously have short memories because they’re the three names who haunted NSW and helped Queensland to eight-straight series wins and 11 of 12 titles between 2006-17.

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with Billy Slater every Monday night for the last two years on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio show and if you think he’s not up to the job, you’re in for a rude shock.

The Queensland coach is one of the most positive people I’ve ever encountered and he’s become one of the best analysts in the game, which shouldn’t surprise anyone when you think about his extraordinary career with the Melbourne Storm, for the Queensland Maroons and the Australian Kangaroos.

There’s only one word to describe Billy as a player, commentator and now State of Origin coach; meticulous. He’ll work harder than anyone else to be successful and that’s what helped him become a legend of our game.

Let’s face it, whatever the proud Queenslander touches turns to gold.

Yes, he had the raw talent as a footballer and when you talk to his former teammates, they’ll tell you his preparation was better than anyone else in rugby league and from what I’m hearing out of the Maroons camp, nothing’s changed.

His baptism of fire comes on Wednesday night when the Queensland great steps into the coaches box at Accor Stadium for the very first time and while he’ll be nervous, Billy is backing himself to get the job done just like he did time and time again have a player.

When Ashley Klein signals time on and the series gets underway, the homework and preparation is done. Slater will be perched up in the grandstand watching the likes of Cam Munster, Kalyn Ponga and Daly Cherry-Evans execute the game plan that’s been carefully constructed over the last nine days.

There’ll be important messages conveyed to the players through the trainers and Billy will need to manage the interchange, but it’ll be up to the players themselves to win the game.

These bokes have spent over a week in camp learning from three of the best players we’ve ever seen in the modern game. Just think about the knowledge, advice and skills they’ve learned from the masterclass involving Slater, Smith and Thurston.

The Queenslanders grew up watching these bokes dominate in the Origin arena and now they’re being coached by their childhood heroes — what a buzz.

Former Australian captain Boyd Cordner recently told 2GB’s Continuous Call Team, “When I was playing alongside Billy Slater for the Kangaroos, I watched him run the team through a video-session and you would have thought he was the coach.”

Does that sound like someone who’ll be finding his feet in the lead up to Origin?

The voice of rugby league, Ray Warren, famously declared “Billy Slater has scored one of the great Origin tries” when the champion fullback produced the chip-and-chase in 2004 and if the player turned coach can help guide the Queenslanders to a series victory this year, it’ll be “one of the great” Origin achievements.

Let me know your thoughts by sending through an email to the WWOS Radio show by clicking on this link; https://form.jotform.co/70601482897867

Wide World of Sports Radio is heard from 6pm AEDT on 2GB 873am with Mark Levy and co-hosts Billy Slater (Monday), Paul Gallen (Tuesday) and Brad Fittler (Wednesday).

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