Slater would trade Qld reins for Inglis
Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters (left) speaks to player Billy Slater (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Retiring Queensland great Billy Slater says he would trade the Maroons captaincy for one more chance to run alongside good friend Greg Inglis.
Slater was humbled to receive the Queensland reins for the first time in what will be his 31st and final Origin - July 11's game three in Brisbane.
But the veteran fullback said it would not quite be the same without Inglis by his side.
Slater, 35, took over the captaincy from inspirational centre Inglis (broken thumb).
"It is a huge honour. Only 13 men have had the opportunity to lead this great team and this great state and I am very proud to be captain of the Queensland Maroons," Slater said.
"(But) I'd much rather have the big fella in the centres playing alongside me."
Slater got a surprise request on Sunday night from Queensland coach Kevin Walters to lead the Maroons in his Origin swansong after a chaotic build-up to their scheduled game three team announcement.
Inglis broke his thumb in South Sydney's NRL win over North Queensland just before the Maroons were due to unveil their Origin III line-up via the QRL website on Sunday night.
Queensland selectors were sent scrambling, delaying the team announcement until Monday before they finalised a reshuffled backline.
"It was really close to the announcement of the team when Greg broke his thumb and that was very disappointing," Slater said.
"Then Kevvie called me up and told me I'd be captain if I'd like to be.
"I didn't have a tear in my eye but it was certainly a very humbling feeling."
Slater and Inglis are the last men standing from Queensland's 2006 team that launched their remarkable run of 11 series wins in the last 12 years.
While Slater rued a missed chance to run out again with Inglis, the fullback looked forward to inspiring the Maroons' next generation in Origin III.
Slater takes over one of Queensland's most inexperienced teams with 32-Origin veteran Inglis sidelined and the Maroons starting life without Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
"We've put a lot of effort in and played really well for the majority of it but we've got nothing to show for it at the moment," Slater said.
"It would be a really nice finish to the series if we could take some enjoyment and some success out of this year (with a win).
"For me it is about this year and this group of guys and them getting something out of it."
Asked if he would savour his last Origin, Slater said: "I already am."
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