Queensland Rugby League has today announced and confirmed the appointment of Billy Slater as head coach of the Queensland Maroons on a two-year contract.
Slater, a Queenslander himself, has represented the Maroons in State of Origin on 31 occasions from 2004 up until his retirement in 2018. Since 2018, Slater has continued his investment in the game as a commentator, Maroons selector and mentor.
Slater commented on the selection to the role with the Maroons, saying he’s pleased to continue to show his faithfulness towards the team and to impart wisdom and guidance onto the playing group.
“I’m very honoured to be able to have been involved with the Queensland State of Origin team… firstly as a supporter when I was a young boy, inspired by the team, then I got the opportunity to play for Queensland and be one of those players, and now I get the chance to help guide and help bring through the next generation,” Slater said.
“It’s a great honour to be the Queensland coach. I was drawn to the role because I care and because it’s important to me.
“At the end of the day, I’m a Queenslander. This team means a lot to me. It always has. It has been a big part of my life for the majority of my life and now I get the opportunity to help other people, not only fulfil their dream but inspire a whole state.”
The 38-year-old said the next step of his coaching tenure would be to assemble a strong team, noting the team’s outward potential that can only build and grow from here.
“It would be irresponsible not to lean on some great people around the Queensland State of Origin team that have been there in the past, that have been successful,” Slater said.
“I thought it was important that I had to commit first, then we’ll put the pieces of the puzzle together.
“Over the next little period, we’ll build a support staff around the players that will best assist the players to play at their optimal.”
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Rohan Sawyer, the incoming Queensland Rugby League executive officer expressed his excitement at seeing Slater take the helm of the Maroons.
“Once we determined it was in our best interests to secure a coach who could provide leadership to a young playing group over multiple series, Billy was the stand out option,” Sawyer said.
“We’re delighted to secure the services of such a passionate Queenslander, and we’re now very much looking forward to planning for the future and providing as much support for Billy as possible to help set him up for success.
“The all-round education he can provide to our playing group is exciting, and his technical thinking offers another element as well.”
As well as his 31 appearances for his state, Slater has also represented Australia 30 times from 2004 to 2017 where he scored 27 tries. At an NRL level, he played 323 games for the Melbourne Storm, setting the club’s record number of tries and an NRL record for most tries by a fullback (191).
Slater is a two-time premiership player with Melbourne (2012 and 2017), as well as receiving the Rugby League Golden Boot Award in 2008 and is also a three-time Dally M Fullback of the Year (2008, 2011, 2017).
He was awarded the league’s highest honour, the Dally M Medal in 2011 and is a two-time recipient of the Wally Lewis Medal (2010 and 2018) and Clive Churchill Medal (2009 and 2017).