Billy Slater’s (almost) perfect ending
BILLY Slater is more than satisfied with his farewell to the Origin arena.
The retiring Queensland skipper was sent out a winner on Wednesday night, in what was a fitting farewell even if the Maroons could not claim the entire series for him.
And the star fullback confirmed after the game that he is not having any second thoughts over his representative retirement.
Slater, who wore his Game Three jersey until 9am on Thursday, said he was never going to backtrack on his decision, no matter if Queensland had won or lost Origin III.
The fact he was able to walk away with a victory just made it all that much sweeter.
"I was walking away anyway," he said.
"We got what we deserved (on Wednesday).
"I'm not taking this jersey off for a while because when I do, it will be the last time I have one on.
"I've always been confident in what I can bring to a team and confident in my ability. I just wanted to go out there and do the best I can for my team. I felt like I did that.
"It was really important to me to come out and help deliver that winning feeling for these guys.
"These guys have put in a lot of effort and to run out as captain, I'm really grateful for this opportunity.
"Queensland's in a really good position moving forward and that excites me. There's a bright future for us."
In his 31 games for Queensland and 30 appearances for Australia, Slater has achieved plenty.
When asked what he wanted his lasting legacy to be, the 35-year-old was able to pick out a few of his representative career highlights, including his famous try in Game Two of the 2004 Origin series and his effort to return to the state and international level last year after two shoulder reconstructions.
But he said overall he wanted to be remembered as a true Queenslander who never gave up.
"You can't predict what your legacy is," he said.
"Someone else will make that up. I'd like to think that (I'm seen as) just a typical Queenslander.
"We're all the same up here. We never give up, we do our best and look after our mates. That's what I'd like to be remembered by."