Billy Slater cops criticism over baffling comment in press conference after loss in Origin 2

The Maroons coach delivered a bizarre answer to questions over his team.

Maroons coach Billy Slater has copped backlash for his baffling comments in the post-match press conference after the Blues humiliated Queensland in Game 2 in State of Origin. Slater cut a dejected figure during Game 2 as the Blues, led by Mitchell Moses, ripped through the Maroons time and time again to pile on a record first-half scoreline.

There have already been swift calls for Slater to go against the Maroons mantra and make changes for the decider at Suncorp with the Maroons forward pack totally dominated for 80 minutes in Melbourne. Reece Walsh has come under criticism for his performance at fullback, while Slater will need to find a recipe to help Queensland get some go-forward.

Reece Walsh and Jarome Luai react and Maroons coach Billy Slater during a press conference.
Maroons coach Billy Slater (pictured right) delivered a baffling 'We are Queenslanders' response to questions about changes to the team after the State of Origin loss. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

However, Slater left fans baffled during his post-match press conference when providing a baffling response to a question on whether he would make changes to the Maroons 17 for the decider at Suncorp.

"We're still Queenslanders. Well, we're from Queensland...I said, I haven't thought about it. We're still Queenslanders. That's it. I honestly haven't thought about it," Slater said. The response left many baffled with reporter Michael Carayannis calling out Slater for dodging the question.

"That last night, I don't know what that means," Carayannis said of Slater's comment on SEN Radio. Panthers great, and former Blues assistant, Greg Alexander said Slater didn't know what to say to the question and was perplexed at the loss.

"He didn't want to answer," Alexander said. "He was trying to brush wasn't quite doing it." Andrew Voss admitted Slater was lost for words after the humiliating result. "That's Billy struggling, that is Billy digging a hole." And Slater will need to find a way to get the Maroons up at home with Queensland completely outplayed in the 38-18 loss.

Felise Kaufusi and Reece Walsh talk.
Felise Kaufusi and Reece Walsh were part of the Maroons team humiliated in Game 2.

Slater admitted his team could not turnaround the early onslaught from the Blues, which culminated with a Liam Martin try. The Blues continued the onslaught for the 80 minutes.

“NSW just got a snowball of possession and we held them out for a few sets and then they broke and got a try and it sort of went downhill from there,” he said. “It’s a tough game to play. It’s a lot tougher when you’re tired. So, like I said, it snowballed against the team and we just couldn’t stop it.”

Slater could be forced to make changes to the team ahead of Game 3, but the growing consensus from Maroons fans is David Fifita should come back into the team. Whether this is to start, or make an impact off the bench, Slater has opted to leave the rampaging backrower out of the Maroons team so far.


Valentine Holmes produced arguably his worst performance in a Maroons jersey with Latrell Mitchell dominating the centre from start to finish on the left edge. Holmes hasn't been at his best in 2024 at club level and Slater could be questioning whether the centre can lift to stop the dominance of Mitchell in the decider.

The other worry is fellow centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow who appeared to hurt his shoulder in a tackle with Mitchell. Regardless of whether there are changes, captain Daly Cherry-Evans admitted he couldn't wait for Game 3 so the Maroons can show their fans are more spirited performance.