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Slater proves point to Maroons selectors

NZN 2/06/2017 Melissa Woods

Melbourne's Billy Slater has done his best to earn a recall to the Queensland side after steering the Storm to a crushing 40-12 win over Newcastle in their NRL clash at AAMI Park.

Slater said he didn't use the disappointment of his shock omission from game one as fuel for his scintillating performance but, with two tries and two try assists, he played like a man with a point to prove.

"I don't think there was any more motivation for me to play well tonight than there was for the last few weeks," Slater said.

But asked if he could do enough to force his way back into the side for game two on June 21 Slater gave an emphatic "yes".

"I was disappointed - it was the first time I missed selection for a State of Origin game while I was fit in the last decade.

"It was a tough decision but, the way I look at it, there wasn't a wrong decision they could have made when you look at the fullback they've got there (Darius Boyd).

"Whether they stick with that, I don't know, but they've got options there."

The 33-year-old scored his first try in the 43rd minute when he snaffled a Cooper Cronk kick and miraculously managed to get the ball down as he crashed over the line.

The second, 10 minutes later, was trademark Slater when he ran on to an inside ball from Cronk, sliced through the defence and stepped around Queensland winger Dane Gagai to score.

Cronk said he'd love Slater to be back in the Queensland side.

"From a personal point of view, he's doing all the right things and you'd love for him to have the story of getting back to the level of playing Origin," Cronk said.

"He cherishes the Maroon jersey.

"But then, there's the other side in that I've got no idea what the selectors are thinking ... the one thing I can say is that Billy is getting back to the form we all know he's capable of.

"He'll just concentrate on what he can do and, when the team is named, hopefully Billy's a part of it."

Melbourne's Queensland skipper Cameron Smith, sitting out the game after Wednesday's Origin ambush, is a certainty to line up on Thursday night against defending premiers Cronulla.

The win extends the Storm's lead at the top of the NRL ladder while the Knights remain anchored at the bottom.

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