Bellamy lessons guide Slater in Origin

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A text from Craig Bellamy this week continued Billy Slater's crash course on coaching that is beginning in the State of Origin arena and could possibly flow into the NRL.

The champion Queensland fullback will be just the third person to lead an Origin team without any previous senior head coaching experience when he guides the Maroons against NSW in Game 1 on Wednesday in Sydney.

It's been unusually smooth sailing in the build-up, talk naturally circling back to the man himself in lieu of any hiccups, with interest in his methods, mentors and aspirations.

"I've never dipped my toe in in my life; it's a start of this (coaching) for me ... but just another part of my Queensland Origin story," said Slater on Tuesday.

"So where it takes me, I don't know.

"This team has been important to me since I was a four-year-old boy ... that's the only reason I'm here."

Slater has had former Maroons teammates Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Nate Myles and Greg Inglis in camp to assist, the six of them combining to involve late cricketer Andrew Symonds' two children at Tuesday's captain's run.

But Slater said former Storm mentor Bellamy remained a key confidant.

"He's been very influential ... I've been around Craig for 20 years, you know, so if you're around someone for long enough, you become that environment," he said, noting Bellamy's work ethic as his biggest strength.

"They have an influence over you and he's been great to me, very supportive, sent me a text yesterday actually.

"I don't anticipate carrying on like him (during the game), but stranger things have happened."

The rookie coach admitted the stress of the task hit him once the Maroons arrived in camp on the Gold Coast last week.

"But we had a couple of really good sessions and that put me at ease," he said.

"So from Saturday on I've been really, really comfortable, really excited.

"The players have given me a lot of belief. I suppose a part of my job is to instil belief in them, but I'll tell you what they've instilled a fair bit of belief in me."

Queensland were flogged 50-6 and 26-0 to surrender the Origin shield last year, their campaign dogged by injury, illness, ill-discipline and even ineligibility issues when Ronaldo Mulitalo was scratched on the morning of the second game.

This year's build-up has lacked any of that, the focus more on football as Queensland's in-form side featuring four debutants attempt to win in Sydney for the first time since 2017.

"You're talking about things going wrong, I think you focus on what you can control," Slater said.

"We've touched on (last year) a little bit, but it's about us playing our best football. The guys that were involved last year didn't do that, but this is a totally new group."

Slater said bench utility Harry Grant could share the field with hooker Ben Hunt, rather than be a straight swap, while debutant Reuben Cotter faces the task of shutting down ball-playing lock Isaah Yeo and backrower Jeremiah Nanai looms as a trump card on the bench.

"The big moments, they'll happen, they'll come, but they'll never happen if you don't do a small moment," he said.

"So that's really important for the players to focus on because you know if you go ahead and chase the big moments you'll forget about the small ones."

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