Fullback Billy Slater, along with the rest of the Maroons, will be striving for a decisive win at tonight’s second State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium. However, Billy insists that Queensland’s previously unprecedented run of victories isn’t what’s front of mind. “Thats a result and an outcome; you dont really focus on those things,” he said. 

While the internet is humming with news and speculation about tonight’s game, there’s been a lot of serious preparation to come this far. Pre-series, Billy took the time to reacquaint himself with his colleagues in Queensland, throwing the ball around with his teammates at Origin Camp.

Unlike regular training at clubs during season, Origin Camp focuses on throwing the ball around more than strength and endurance training. “The structure to training and what we do is a little bit different. Weve just come together for a week and a half, whereas at club level youve got the whole pre-season,” Billy explained. “You need a fair bit of time to get that continuity. In camp, youre training with the football a lot more than the other things you do in and around training at club level."

While reconnecting with the team via training sessions is undoubtedly important, Billy believes it’s just as important to ensure you’re in the right headspace before big games. “You have your time to think about your role in the team, but at the same time its vitally important to get away from football,” he suggested. “When its time to relax, youre not thinking about footy too much. Thats an important part of the preparation process. But it is a big occasion and its hard not to think about it when your not supposed to.”

Part of that relaxation process - and a longstanding tradition of Origin Camp - is simply hanging out with the team, Billy explained. “When its time to switch on and train, well be intense, but until then well relax a bit and enjoy each others company,” he said. “Were all pretty good mates in the Queensland side. Weve been around together a long time. Its important to embrace that mateship weve got here.

But whether or not it’s a path that’ll end with a ninth origin victory, Billy refused to be drawn. “Its really important we prepare really well,” he said. “The result will take care of itself.”