Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow lifts the lid on sideline moment with Billy Slater in State of Origin I

Tabuai-Fidow starred in Origin Game I after making the switch to fullback.

Queensland speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow admits he thought he was in trouble with the Maroons coach when he was summoned to the sideline during the State of Origin opener. The 22-year-old starred in Game I, filling in for most of the game at fullback after Reece Walsh was ruled out of the match with concussion after being hit high by Blues debutant Joseph Suaalii.

But shortly after he was moved to the fullback spot, Tabuai-Fidow was caught out of position as his opposite number James Tedesco scored from a kick. The Maroons didn't take long to hit back, with Tabuai-Fidow scoring the first of his hat-trick of tries.

Pictured Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Queensland speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow admits he thought he was in trouble when he was summoned to the touchline by Billy Slater. Image: AAP/Nine

But his celebration was short-lived as he was called over to the sideline where Queensland coach Billy Slater was waiting to speak to him. And the Dolphins fullback admitted he thought he was about to get a telling-off. "Johnno (assistant coach Johnathan Thurston) came over and said, 'Billy wants to talk to you on the sideline'. I said, 'Sweet, am I in trouble?'," Tabuai-Fidow said.

"He gave me a few pointers and I tried to stick to that. Billy said, 'Go out there and have fun', but also (spoke about) my defence.

"I had to work on that … to have trust in the boys and get my numbers right. I play fullback in clubland and am used to it, but it was a bit quicker (in Origin). I went back out and did my job."

Slater's decision to head down from the coach's box to the sideline to talk to one of the players is a move rarely seen. "I thought to myself that if that's needed, that is what I will do. We actually had a talk about that as (coaching) staff," Slater said.

"When Hammer got thrown back to fullback I thought I could help him with a few things, just having a face-to-face conversation. We can't plan for everything but that's one thing I thought would be beneficial to the team, and beneficial to Hammer."

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Coach Billy Slater during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin Training Session at Sanctuary Cove on June 03, 2024 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Billy Slater says there is plenty of room to improve on the Maroons' Game I performance.

Tabuai-Fidow is one of the most exciting players to watch and Slater was full of praise for the Dolphins star post-match. "He did a great job under the high ball and positionally," Slater said.

"Not just scoring three tries, but he saved just as many. Getting under Spencer Leniu, that's not easy. He held up James Tedesco. He did a wonderful job to adjust to a different position. I know he plays there every week but I thought he was super."


Slater says despite the scoreline his side was far from satisfied with the 38-10 win and vowed to up their game for the remainder of the series. "I thought we were so far off with our footy tonight. That's all to come," Slater said.

"I don't think we played the way we prepared. There is so much more for this footy team. That's exciting. That is not for now. Now is about the feeling they are getting in the dressing room."

with AAP