The word “legend” attached to your name carries with it the implication of obsolescence, something that cannot be denied.
At least that would seem to be the case in the snub that has found Queensland legend Billy Slater on the sideline with no maroon jersey as the Maroons prepare for Origin I.
The collective gasp over Maroons’ Coach Kevon Walters over his decision to exclude Slater from the side could be hear as far away as Auckland, and trust us, that is a long way.
Ahead of the selections, it was practically a foregone conclusion that Slate would occupy the No. 1 jumper for Queensland and necessitate the incumbent Darius Boyd being pushed to the wing.
Hurting Slater’s chances, however, were shoulder injuries that have hampered him for fully two years now as he tries to recover the form that led him to so much representative success over the past 10 years.
No one to hide his disappointment beneath a mask of stoicism, Slater went on The Footy Show to express his feelings.
Slate was initially mum on his omission from the Maroons, but said in an interview, “It was obviously disappointing for myself to get the news a couple of days ago. That’s not saying I deserve to be there over anyone else, it just means so much to me to play for Queensland. It’s just going to be hard watching when I’m fully fit.”
The cruel reality of the situation is that there are limited slots available and nearly unlimited numbers of players who are deserving. No doubt, Slater displaced a former legend when he won his first Maroon jersey.
There has been no shortage of remarks from commentators and former Origin players since the selections were announced Monday. Even the general rugby league community considered Slater’s selection a sure thing. Even Cooper Cronk went on record as tipping Slater to play Origin again.