Slater warns Origin III win crucial
MEMORIES of 2014 are spurring on stand-in Queensland skipper Billy Slater to prevent a NSW clean sweep in his State of Origin swan song.
Before his 31st and final game for the Maroons, Slater said he was determined to steer his team to victory and ensure the Blues do not gain momentum for their own dynasty.
NSW are vying for their first series whitewash since 2000.
Slater said Queensland's current plight reminded him of their previous series defeat in 2014.
Four years ago the Maroons recorded a convincing 32-8 Origin III win in Brisbane, the catalyst to go on and win the next three series.
NSW's series win this year marks just the second for the Blues in 13 years.
"We were in this position in 2014, we lost the series. It is important to gain a bit of momentum to go into next year and hopefully get that winning feeling for these boys," Slater said.
"I know the series isn't on the line any more and NSW have wrapped it up and fully deserve it but we are playing for Queensland.
"This team is pretty important to the people of Queensland. I have always remembered that pulling on this Maroon jersey."
Rather than adopt a "do it for Billy" approach to avoid a sweep, Slater wanted a new-look Queensland to remember the support on their regional fan day at Hervey Bay last week when thousands of locals queued for hours for autographs and photos.
"We will be doing everything possible to do that, that's not something you want next to your name," Slater said of avoiding a whitewash.
"We need to go out there and play best we can.
"We went up to Hervey Bay at the start of the camp, I really enjoy going to those fan days in the rural areas.
"It reminds you of how much this team means to the public, that's who we are playing for on Wednesday night."
Slater will skipper Queensland for the first time after centre Greg Inglis was ruled out with a broken thumb.
Inglis was a welcome visitor at Camp Maroon on the Gold Coast on Monday.
Inglis's injury ensures Slater is the last man standing from Queensland's 2006 side that launched their incredible run of 11 series wins in the past 12 years.
The 35-year-old will need to be at his inspirational best taking over a Queensland side that has struggled with life after their Big Three - retired greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
Slater becomes only the second player behind Arthur Beetson to captain an Origin side after his 35th birthday.
"There's not too many players who get to play 30 Origins, that's 10 years straight without missing a game," Slater said.
"It is hard to do that at NRL level, let alone Origin level. I am very proud of that."
Slater is the equal ninth most capped Origin player, alongside Wally Lewis and Brad Fittler.
Meanwhile, Melbourne forward Christian Welch has been welcomed into the Maroons camp as 18th man.