Billy Slater makes bold call on his Origin future
BILLY Slater has no plans to follow good mate Johnathan Thurston into the sunset.
The little Queensland champion says as long as he's playing rugby league, he wants to make himself available for all representative selection.
Thurston has made the decision to hang up his representative boots at the end of the 2017 World Cup, despite committing one more year to NRL football with North Queensland.
Slater has already stated he plans to go around again for Melbourne next year, and says he plans to retain his Queensland jumper too if his 2018 form warrants it.
Slater made a triumphant return to the State of Origin arena on Wednesday night, setting up the match-winning play in the dying minutes of an ANZ Stadium thriller.
"To be perfectly honest I've enjoyed the start of this season, I'm enjoying being back in this Maroons team," Slater said post-game.
"There's more chance than not that I'll play on next year, and I really enjoy playing for Queensland, so I'd like to think that if I did play on next year I'd play for Queensland again.
"I just don't know, until I sit down and nut out what I want to do next year and whether I can put 100 per cent in to next year, I'll make that decision in due course.
"At the moment I'm feeling really good, the body's in a really healthy spot, and I'm enjoying my football.
"There's more chance than not of me playing next year."
Slater admitted the feeling of moments like winning an Origin game in the final minutes gave him the itch to play on next year.
But while he missed that winning feeling over a torrid past two years, he said it was the little intricacies of being in a team environment that made him miss football most.
"Little moments, sitting in the dressing rooms having a beer with your teammates, they're the little things that I've missed over the last two years that I've been out.
"I've really enjoyed that and I've taken extra time to enjoy those moments."
Slater broke down crying during a radio interview on the field immediately after winning the game for Queensland.
He's come back from two shoulder reconstructions in two years to star for the Storm and reclaim his Maroons No.1 jumper, all at the age of 34.
But the little champion isn't content with that. He's still eyeing a green and gold Australian jumper for the World Cup at the end of the year.
"When you stand there and sing the national anthem wearing the green and gold, it's a great feeling," Slater said.