Sport

Maroons a more dangerous outfit with Billy: ex-Blues utility

HE'S BACK: Billy Slater during the Queensland State of Origin team training session on the Gold Coast.
HE'S BACK: Billy Slater during the Queensland State of Origin team training session on the Gold Coast. DAVE HUNT

RUGBY LEAGUE: Ex-Blues utility Scott Hill believes Queensland has a much more dangerous line-up for game two of this year's State of Origin series, especially with Billy Slater at fullback.

Selectors rang in seven changes to the squad which was thumped 28-4 in the opener three weeks ago.

Some returned stars and some enthusiastic debutants are set to lace up for the Maroons when it meets the Blues at Sydney on Wednesday.

"It's a far better side. They needed to make those changes and I think the changes they have made are pretty good ones," Sunshine Coast-based Hill said.

The inclusion of 34-year-old Slater is most notable. He's been named at fullback, with Darius Boyd moved to the three-quarter line.

"I think Billy's a massive in, defensively and in attack," Hill said.

"He just adds that factor. Darius has been good but he's not Billy Slater. He makes you think differently."

Hill played with the latter more than a decade ago at Melbourne Storm.

"When it comes to crucial plays he's as good as he's ever been," Hill said.

"He's shown that in the last six weeks since he's come back (from injury).

"He's consistent (and) he's far more dynamic in what he does and is very smart about how he plays.

"He doesn't get his body smashed up too much; is smarter with offloads to his wingers taking it into traffic.

"Defensively he is another voice and attack wise...he makes the right choices.

"He (also) takes Cooper Cronk's game to another level."

The probable return from injury of half Johnathan Thurston should also help the Maroons' cause.

"With JT and Billy there, that takes a lot of pressure off Cooper and Cameron (Smith). They will share the load really well," Hill said.

And the Queensland pack, which was overwhelmed last time, will have a new look.

"There's a couple of good young forwards who have been doing really well," Hill said.

"(Coen) Hess has been outstanding for the Cowboys and (Tim) Glasby is a guy that will get the numbers and do everything right. He's been dominant for the Storm and consistent."

But Hill still thinks New South Wales should claim its first series triumph since 2014, providing the side plays as well as last month.

"I think the main reason they won game one was they didn't give Queensland anything at all.

"If they do everything they did in game one they will win."

Slater was born at Nambour and was a young ball boy at Noosa Pirates, where his father played.

Topics:  billy slater scott hill state of origin 2017



Winds and frost to chill Warwick

GET YOUR COAT ON: Winter makes a return this weekend.

Winter weather makes an unglorious return this weekend.

Redefining marriage 'an attack on freedom': Shelton

Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby. Photo Contributed

'I will always believe the truth about marriage'

Winds prompt bushfire warnings for Southern Downs

FIRE DANGER: Residents are warned to be bushfire ready

Region facing very high fire danger

Local Partners

Festival to honour man in black

Stanthorpe could be on to a Cash cow, with organisers of a new festival confident the event could become a major drawcard for the area.


Warwick sticks with same combination for Rose Bowl

POSSESSION: Warwick Fraser in possession for Warwick in the Gold Racquet Polocrosse Carnival at Killarney this season.

Top polocrosse all weekend at Morgan Park

Rose Bowl turns 50 at this weekend's carnival

ACTION: Byron Davison (Tansey) is challenged by Braydon Beck (Warwick) in a final in the Rose Bowl carnival.

Eighty four teams in Warwick for Rose Bowl

Cowboys colts side at full strength for semi final

FINALS: Aden Howard in possession for Warwick Cowboys in under-18 rugby league this season.

Cowboys in two finals in Toowoomba on Saturday afternoon

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

TAYLOR Swift has completely disappeared off social media — and her fans don’t know what to think.

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Valene Kane, Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer star in the TV series The Other Guy.

First foray into acting a long time in the making

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry