Billy Slater lashes Queensland players over 'unacceptable' act during loss in State of Origin 2

The Maroons coach has vowed improvement for the State of Origin decider at Suncorp.

Billy Slater has blasted his Queensland players over their 'unacceptable' lack of discipline in State of Origin 2, vowing to tidy it up for the series decider. The Maroons gave away a number of penalties and six-agains in the first 10 minutes of Game 2 at the MCG, which allowed the Blues to get on the front foot and take advantage.

Referee Ashley Klein pinged Slater's side for a number of infringements in the early stages, handing NSW a mountain of possession and field position. Queensland fans were left fuming over Klein's officiating, which many believed helped the Blues gain control before they ran in six unanswered tries in the first half to take a 34-0 lead.

Billy Slater, pictured here alongside his Queensland players in State of Origin 2.
Billy Slater's Queensland side gave away a number of penalties and six-agains in the early stages of State of Origin 2. Image: Channel 9/Getty

But according to Slater, the Maroons only have themselves to blame. "I wish I had selective memory loss, but unfortunately it's stuck firmly in the memory ... it was a disappointing night for all us Queenslanders," he said on the Billy Slater podcast on Monday.

"We were beaten by a better side. NSW were a shade off being perfect. We had 30 per cent of the ball and they had 70 and that's something that we really need to look at. We were 6-0 down on the penalty count and that's just not acceptable. It's hard to get over that first half, but if you're looking for a positive, the second half the guys rallied and hung in there and never gave up."

Referee Ashley Klein during State of Origin 2.
Ashley Klein pinged the Maroons for numerous infringements. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Slater has a big decision to make about who replaces Xavier Coates, after the winger tore his hamstring while playing for the Storm just three days after Origin 2. Selwyn Cobbo appears the likely choice after playing in Game 1 off the bench, but Dane Gagai could also get the nod due to his experience.

AJ Brimson, who has played four Origin games including the third game last year, is back in action for the Titans this week and could get a shock call-up. "You could see that he was visually dejected walking down the tunnel," Slater said about Coates. "I was sitting at home watching it and feeling for him, because I know how hard he's worked."

Broncos coach Kevin Walters revealed on Monday that Cobbo has overcome the woes that forced Slater to rest him for Origin 2. Slater was concerned about some physical and mental issues that the young back was enduring and opted not to pick him.

"I think he'd be at the forefront of Billy's mind, that's for sure. He had another strong game for us,'' Walters said about Cobbo's performance in Brisbane's loss to the Warriors. "He got some time away from the game. He went back to Cherbourg and his family. That's normally very invigorating for players, particularly Selwyn with time with his family.

"That's all he needed. Just a bit of a break. I'm sure if he's called upon he'd love to play for Queensland, but we've got next week against the Panthers (on Friday night) and he's got to get his mind around that short turnaround for us.''


Plenty have also been calling for David Fifita to come back into the team after the Queensland forward pack were monstered in Game 2. Slater has resisted calls to pick Fifita in the first two games, but not be able to ignore him for the Suncorp decider.

with AAP