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NSW Blues, Queensland Maroons, Paul Gallen, Billy Slater, Eels v Warriors


Paul Gallen never showed a sign of weakness in a New South Wales State of Origin jersey, but the former Blues captain has capitulated in the wake of Queensland’s instantly famous triumph in Wednesday night’s decider.

When Nine’s panel crossed to Queensland head coach Billy Slater after the Eels’ defeat of the Warriors on Friday night, Gallen laughed helplessly as he queried the Maroons legend.

“Billy, it’s Gal. How long do you plan on sticking around being the coach for?” he said as the panel erupted in laughter.

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“I saw a pic with you, Cam Smith and Johnathan Thurston, and I thought we’d finally gotten rid of you. Seriously. Can you just go away? You had eight years straight. How long do you plan on sticking around for?”

After seeing the humour in Gallen’s theatrics and pretending the feed had cut out, Slater answered the question in his typical fashion — with the straightest of bats.

“As long as I feel I can contribute and that I’m the right person for Queensland … at the end of the day, we’ve just got to get the right people in there around the group,” Slater said.

“The way that they played … they all know what it means to their state.

“I thought the guidance from Cam, Johnathan Thurston, Nate Myles … and Josh Hannay was super for us. I’ve got no doubt that he’s going to take control of an NRL team in the near future. I thought he was exceptional throughout all three camps. He was a great bit of experience for the three of us to lean on. He was super.”

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Gallen was the Blues’ heart and soul throughout the majority of the Maroons’ eight-year dynasty, which spanned 2006-2013.

And Slater, the greatest fullback of his generation, was among those responsible for so much NSW heartache.

Slater signed a two-year deal as Queensland’s head coach in September 2021.

He led the Maroons to a 22-12 victory in the decider in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

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