Slater becomes instant Qld hero - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slater becomes instant Qld hero

By Brent Read 16/06/2004 10:39:11 PM Comments (0)

Innisfail's Billy Slater became an instant Queensland hero with one of the great tries in State of Origin history as the Maroons levelled the series with a 22-18 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium.

The 20-year-old, playing only his second Origin game, will celebrate his 21st birthday on Friday but it's hard to imagine that landmark could top his spine-tingling four-pointer before a record crowd of 52,478 at Queensland rugby league's spiritual home.

With the Maroons trailing 10-12 in the 63rd minute, five-eighth Darren Lockyer put a short kick through on the Queensland 40 metre line and Slater did it all from there.

The winger picked the bouncing ball up, swerved in one direction and chipped in the opposite over NSW fullback Anthony Minichiello.

He then used his blinding speed to get to the ball first and dive over.

Video referees Tim Mander and Graeme West ruled Slater was on side and awarded the try, Scott Prince adding the extras to put the Maroons in front for the first time in the match.

"It was a spur of the moment thing," Slater said.

"You've got Lockyer in the side and he puts the ball where you want it and you do your best to finish it off."

Slater - who scored Queensland's first try in the 34th minute - also saved a four-pointer in the 67th minute when he pushed his NSW counterpart Timana Tahu into touch to protect the Maroons' lead.

One minute later Tahu was at fault when he dropped a Lockyer bomb and Dane Carlaw swooped to present the Maroons with a decisive 20-12 lead.

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