Queensland great Billy Slater to call time on State of Origin career

Australia and Queensland great Billy Slater will retire from representative rugby league after this year’s State of Origin series.

The 34-year-old full-back, considered one of the greatest ever to play the game, will continue to line out for Melbourne Storm in the NRL.

“I feel it is time,” Slater, who has played 30 Tests for Australia and 29 games for Queensland.

“I’m 35 this year. I have been through a fair bit. This will be the 15th year I have played for Queensland. Honestly, I just think it’s time.”

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Slater represented the Kangaroos in the 2008, 2013 and 2017 World Cup, lifting the trophy twice.

His decision came two weeks after another great, Cameron Smith, also called time on his representative career. Queensland’s Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston stepped back from national and representative duties last year.

Slater said his decision was not influenced by the distinguished trio, adding that he “was always going to make this decision”.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters hailed him as “a phenomenon”.

“Most of the boys in the team know when they were growing up, they wanted to be like Billy Slater and that’s a direct representation of where he stands among Queenslanders and in the game,” Walters said.