Billy Slater press conference, NSW Blues vs Queensland Maroons, Reece Walsh tackle, Joseph Suaalii, video

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Queensland coach Billy Slater has raised questions about sending off Joseph Suaalii for a high chance on Reece Walsh.

The Blues rookie was given his marching orders after just eight minutes for the tackle that took Walsh out of the game during the Maroons’ 38-10 win.

However, Slater was in no mood to comment on the incident during his post-match press conference.

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“I’ll keep my feelings on that to myself,” Slater said before being asked if NSW were targeting the Broncos star.

“I have no idea, but I can’t keep my feelings about it to myself,” he replied.

Slater was then pressed on whether he thought Suaalii deserved to be sent off, firing back at the reporter: “You did that?”

Walsh’s concussion forced Slater to reshuffle his backline, with Selwyn Cobbo coming off the bench and slotting Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow at full-back.

Slater left his coach’s box after the Walsh incident and went to the sideline to talk to his young flyer at the switch

“When The Hammer was thrown back as a full-back I felt I could help him with a few things, just to have a personal conversation,” he said at his post-match press conference.

“That’s one thing I felt was beneficial for the team and The Hammer.

“I just felt it at that moment and I did it.”

It worked. The stand-in fullback scored a hat-trick and made an incredible try-saving tackle on Blues forward Spencer Leniu.

“He did a great job under the high ball (and) positionally,” Slater continued.

“Not only did he score three tries, but he saved just as many.

“He has done a fantastic job of adapting to a different position. I thought he was great.”

Slater, meanwhile, praised his side for overcoming the disruption of losing Walsh, revealing they had planned for such a scenario.

“I am always proud of this football team. The way they prepare, the way they conduct themselves, they are a credit to themselves as leaders of our state,” he said.

“I can imagine what 5.5 million people over the border feel about their footy team and there would certainly be pride there.

“We prepared for the unexpected and the unexpected happened.”

Two of the Maroons’ oldest stars also received high praise.

“I feel like the great leaders do their job in their position and that’s the first thing Daly does well,” Slater said of his skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

‘I am very proud of their efforts’ | 07:37

“His commitment to the defensive side of the game was first class. He is a smart football player. That’s why he’s the leader of our football team.”

Speaking of Hunt, who scored the game’s penultimate try with a brilliant 40-metre dummy half run, Slater branded his hooker as someone who “exemplifies the spirit of Queensland.”

Cherry-Evans was also a very complementary addition to the Dragons halfback.

“I am so proud and happy to be his friend. He works hard. He gets what he deserves there.”

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Despite a resounding 38-10 scoreline, Slater was convinced his side were far from their best.

“We have so much to offer with our footy. I thought we were so far away with our footy tonight. But that is yet to come.

“I don’t think we played the way we prepared. There is a lot more football for this team. That is exciting.”

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