Maroons fans turn on Billy Slater over huge State of Origin call as 'bizarre' David Fifita detail emerges

Maroons fans have been left stunned over Billy Slater's huge State of Origin call.

Maroons fans have called out coach Billy Slater's decision to snub powerhouse David Fifita from the Maroons squad and select both Kurt Capewell and Brendan Piakura for the decider. The Blues dominated the Maroons for 80 minutes at the MCG in State of Origin Game 2 with Slater forced to rethink his team heading into the decider at home.

The Blues' edge on both sides - Angus Crichton, Latrell Mitchell, Liam Martin and Stephen Crichton - tore through the Queensland defence with ease, which prompted calls for change out wide. The Maroons were also seeking an impact from their bench in Game 2, but they were unable to stop the flow as they were defeated 38-18.

David Fifita (pictured left) celebrating and Billy Slater during a press conference.
Billy Slater (pictured right) has prompted backlash having snubbed David Fifita (pictured left) from the Maroons squad and for both Kurt Capewell and Brendan Piakura. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Maroons fans called on Slater to make a number of changes to the line-up with more emphasis on mobility and X-factor needed to stop the rampaging Blues. While Mitchell has been ruled out of Origin and won't be able to terrorise the Maroons, the Blues have named a strong line-up with Mitchell Barnett and Bradman Best joining the team.

And many believed Slater would match the call to bring in rampaging back rower Fifita to the team to add a dangerous edge-runner into the equation. However, Slater has opted to promote Capewell from the bench to the starting team and snubbed Fifita altogether.

This has left the NRL world absolutely baffled with Broncos second rower Piakura preferred as the 18th man instead of Fifita. Capewell hasn't enjoyed his best season for the Warriors and didn't look at his best in Game 2. Piakura also hasn't knocked down the door at the Broncos. This appears to suggest Fifita was not in Slater's equation to join the Game 3 squad and won't be involved in the camp at all.

Slater was pressed on Fifita's absence and claimed he feels the forward has been below his 2023 standard, but was 'considered'. This is despite Fifita's strong from over the last few weeks and claims would add some much-needed muscle to the Queensland pack.

“But we feel that the 17 players that have been chosen are the 17 players that have earned the opportunity to be here,” Slater said in the press conference. “All Queenslanders are considered and Dave is a name that has been in the conversation for all games.

"He started the season a bit behind the eight-ball with a pec injury, didn’t have a great pre-season and he’s still working back to the standard that he created for himself last year. I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that.”

David Fifita during a game.
Billy Slater has once again snubbed David Fifita (pictured) for the Maroons team.

Slater's response has not filled fans with confidence heading into the decider in Brisbane. Piakura has been in the Maroons camp for the State of Origin series and is considered a potential starter down the road for Queensland. However, his selection above Fifita for the must-win Game 3 decider has fans absolutely baffled. Many also suggested a number of younger players that could have come into the squad, instead of keeping a forward pack that has been underwhelming in both games.

Slater also opted to recall Kalyn Ponga, Dane Gagai and Selwyn Cobbo for Queensland in the Game 3 decider. The Queensland coach has also axed Dragons back-rower Jaydn Su'a, with Kurt Capewell set to start for the Maroons.

Gagai and Cobbo have both been brought into a back-line affected by injuries, with wingers Xavier Coates and Murray Taulagi both unable to take their place in the decider. And Ponga will start on the bench and provide an X-factor for Slater, after opting out of playing in the 2023 series.