Slater adamant Boyd's career far from done
Billy Slater insists the door is not closed on Darius Boyd's decorated Maroons career and believes the State of Origin veteran will fight it out with rising star Kalyn Ponga for the No.1 jersey in 2019.
Boyd, 30, has played 28 Origin games for the Maroons at fullback, wing and centre but was overlooked for Valentine Holmes at left wing for game one of the Holden State of Origin series in Melbourne on June 6.
Maroons chairman of selectors Gene Miles told NRL.com that 20-year-old Ponga would be brought into camp at some stage in the coming week.
"There is a lot of hype around Kalyn at the moment and he is a fantastic young player and doing some great things," Slater said.
"He is only about 20 games into his NRL career and has a bright future ahead of him and I have no doubt he will play for Queensland one day, whether that be this year, the year after... I'm not too sure.
"But Darius Boyd is a fantastic fullback as well and is very experienced. He had a bad hamstring injury at the end of last year that was still affecting him at the start of this year. It is going to take a bit to get back, but he is a guy who has played for Queensland and Australia at fullback."
Slater said there were "many options" and harked back to when Cameron Munster was tipped to be the next Maroons fullback.
"Now he is one of the best No.6s in the game and playing for Queensland and Australia, so things can change pretty quick in our game," he said.
"I am sure the selectors will make the best decision, probably next year some time."
Last year Slater missed out on game one and received the phone call to say he was not in the team, the same call that Maroons veterans Matt Scott and Boyd received this week.
He said that his own example was living proof that "without doubt" the rep careers of Boyd and Scott were not over.
"The hardest job in our game is selecting the side for Queensland and NSW. You are going to leave players that probably deserve to be there out," Slater said.
"That has happened again this year and I hold no grudges about what happened last year. The selectors and Kevvie are thinking about what is best for Queensland.
"I am sure if Darius and Matty Scott get the opportunity again, and I believe they will, they will be here to make a difference."
Coach Kevin Walters said he would be happy to pick up the phone and ring Boyd this year.
"As Billy said, there could be an opportunity for Darius to play in this year's series, and I hope there is because he has been a great player for Queensland, Australia and the Broncos," Walters said.
"[Boyd and Scott] know they are still part of the Queensland team, and always will be."