STATE OF ORIGIN Slater may be forced to rest
“It’d be the most satisfying, I reckon, no doubt about that given the injuries we’ve had and the personnel that are unavailable,” Smith said.
“Inglis and ( Matt) Scott ( for the series), Darius ( Boyd) for this game, JT ( Johnathan Thurston) for two of the games. There’s a lot of guys there with a lot of talent and a lot of experience at this level.
“It would be a huge effort. Even if those guys were available it would still be a huge effort needed to beat NSW.
“It’d be pretty satisfying but we’re not at all getting ahead of ourselves and thinking about how good it would be to win the series. We know there’s a lot of hard work in front of us to be at that point at the 80th minute to be ahead on the scoreboard.
“Our focus is purely on our last session and then making sure that we deliver an 80minute performance because we haven’t done that thus far this series.
“I think we owe that to our fans and everyone in Queensland.”
Smith has been the longest serving Maroon in Origin history, making his debut in Game Three of 2003 and only missing one match since.
The Maroons are going through a transitional period which has seen Thurston play his final Origin game and Storm duo Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater yet to commit beyond 2017.
Coach Kevin Walters has blooded eight new players this series and is hopeful he will not lose the crux of his squad in one year.
Smith is yet to put a time frame on his tenure and is determined to lead Queensland into a new era of Origin dominance before handing over the mantle.
“It’s been a bit of a shock to the system the last couple of years with Corey Parker finishing up and Johnathan Thurston this year, but the time had to come, you can’t go on forever,” he said.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of guys who have been part of this team for a long time that are going to finish their Origin careers.
“I still feel really good mentally and physically and still enjoy coming into camp and competing at this level.
“When that desire or hunger is gone I will know it is time to put my hand up and say ‘ give another bloke a go’.”
When Smith retires, Greg Inglis is favoured to step into the Maroons captaincy but Walters is hoping he does not have to contemplate making that appointment for a while.
“They can’t all just leave at once. Drip feeding is the best way,” Walters said.
“I’d like to think that Cameron will be there next year.
“Cameron is one of those guys that we think can squeeze another year out of.” THE Maroons could be forced to rest fullback Billy Slater from their final training session to preserve him for tomorrow’s State of Origin decider.
Slater is undergoing intense treatment to overcome an ankle injury in time for the blockbuster showdown against NSW at Suncorp Stadium.
Today’s captain’s run is traditionally a session to finetune team plays and defence structures and it would be far from ideal for Slater to sit on the sidelines.
But Maroons medical staff are conscious he could aggravate the problem, which would seriously affect his fitness on game day.
If Slater stays off his feet today he will be in a better position to play through pain in the game, with skipper Cameron Smith saying it was not crucial for the 28- Origin veteran to train.
“I would much rather he be right to go on Wednesday night rather than push him into a captain’s run and he pulls up sore again,” Smith said.
“We don’t particularly need him there for the captain’s run. We have done our main sessions on Friday and Sunday, that’s when we got most of our work done.
“For Bill not to take part in that captain’s run is not going to worry us at all.
“Given the way Bill has pulled up it all looks extremely positive for him to be there and for us to go out as the 17 named.”
The Maroons are so confident Slater will play they have not drafted in extra players to cover his potential absence.
Bench utility Ben Hunt trained at five- eighth at times during Sunday’s session when Cameron Munster shifted to fullback.
If Slater does not play, that is the likely change coach Kevin Walters would make, with Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough coming on to the bench.
While Johnathan Thurston will not play another game for Queensland following his representative retirement, and Cooper Cronk to possibly follow suit, Smith said he didn’t expect Slater to give the game away this year.
“Bill’s a little bit different. I think he’s very keen to play on. It’s just whether he feels his body’s up to it,” he said.
“His body has taken a battering over his career. He’s had injuries to his knees, his ankles, his shoulders and quite serious injuries as well.
“It’s whether he feels he can get through firstly a preseason of training and then getting through another rigorous season of football.
“Whether he feels he’s up to it, whether he can put 100 per cent into that because I know Bill has always been about playing at 100 per cent.
“It’s not going in at 80 per cent. It’s all or nothing for Billy. He’s probably waiting more toward the end of the year to see how he feels.”
The Maroons shifted their camp from Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast to Brisbane yesterday.