The 34-year-old has only played one club game since Round 6 and was in visible distress carrying his right arm for most of the night but that didn't stop him from etching his name into the annals of history with a play that summed up Queensland's seemingly-endless dynasty. "There's no way he could continue, which speaks volumes for the way he played on".
Slater may not have played an Origin game for two years but he was key to Queensland's successful campaign last year after joining Kevin Walters' coaching staff to help guide the Maroons back three.
"I just don't see why NSW and Laurie want to put the pressure on the referees when they shouldn't be doing that. They had all the running, their game plan was ideal", Johns said post-match.
But the Maroons weren't to be denied, matching NSW's three tries - including a double by Queensland winger Dane Gagai - to send the series into a decider.
Instead, the ageing Queensland somehow remain on track for their 11th Origin triumph in 12 years.
Not many other wingers in the game could have done that and I think that the way he will start the sets for Queensland - where it really struggled in game one to get any fast play-the-balls - he will just rip through that middle with his leg speed and footwork.
"That's the key for us, that's the key for Origin because you don't get many".
"I can't think of anyone else you'd want to have a crack at that goal", he said.
As dominant as NSW forwards like Josh Jackson were in the first half, so much of the team's success lay in the hands of Micthell Pearce and James Maloney, who won a premiership together with the Roosters in 2012.
Billy Slater (left) practises his kicking game with Queensland skipper Cameron Smith.
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"If we're going to win it for anyone it would be for Loz", Cordner said. Nevertheless, it seems Queensland has somehow wrested favouritism away from the NSW in what will surely be one of the most feverishly anticipated Origin deciders ever.
"Yes, it's great to have all that support behind us, because it feels great, but it can change pretty quickly and Queensland have been the champions for so long and to beat them would be something special for our group of guys".
"It's a little bit tender, but it's a lot better than I thought it would be", he told reporters outside the Maroons' hotel. We knew if we started well, held the ball, we'd get our opportunity.
They will kick on plays three and four early in sets and due to the conditions they will trap the NSW fullback in the corners and really shorten up their defensive line and try and make it hard for the Blues to get that momentum through the ruck. They know my body better than anyone.
"I've got a good range [of movement], so that's a positive sign".
They took their first lead of the series when Thurston, Slater and Darius Boyd spread the ball wide before Holmes flirted with the touchline and dived over in the corner for the opening try.
Centre Jarryd Hayne scored in the 14th minute, marking four pointer No.11 for NSW - equalling Michael O'Connor as NSW's leading Origin try scorer.
However, Gagai scored twice (53rd, 77th) before Thurston again broke Blues hearts in the dying minutes.
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