Queensland Legend Billy Slater To Retire From Origin
"I just think it's time," the star fullback said.
Just a day after being named in Queensland's 2018 State of Origin side, Melbourne Storm NRL star Billy Slater has announced this year's series will be his last.
Slater, 34, confirmed on Tuesday he would retire from representative rugby league at the end of this season. The star fullback, considered one of the best players ever in that position, said he had been contemplating retiring from the representative arena for some time.
"It has been on my mind for a while. The decision was made last week. I feel it is time," he told a media conference.
"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 its time."
Slater made his Origin debut in 2004 aged just 20, and has since played 29 games for the Maroons. In just his second game, he scored what is raised by many as one of the greatest tries in the history of the series, chasing down a chip kick then kicking again for himself before regathering to score.
On Tuesday, the star fullback paid tribute to his wife, children and fans for their support over his storied football career.
"I want to thank the Queensland people, they have always made me feel pretty special playing in the Maroon jersey. The traits that we have here in the Maroons team and that is being humble, never giving up, being there for your mates, they are just Queensland traits," he said.
"A big thank you to the Queensland people for giving us the fuel to go out and play the way we do and giving us the fuel to go out and play for people. That is what Queensland has always been about."
Slater said the retirements of fellow Queensland stars Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith from Origin this year did not affect his decision.
Sitting next to Slater at the media conference, QLD coach Kevin Walters heaped high praise on his fullback.
"To me, Billy Slater epitomises what State of Origin is all about," Walters said.
"When you think of Billy Slater, you think exciting, you think top, you think resilient, you think all things Origin that you need to be at that level."
The first Origin game is June 6 in Melbourne, before the series heads to Sydney on June 24 then Brisbane on July 11.