NSW winger Blake Ferguson has leapt to the defence of Queensland coach Kevin Walters following his gut-wrenching decision to drop Billy Slater for State of Origin I.
Walters has been pilloried both sides of the border after seemingly shutting the door on the Melbourne champion’s 27-game Origin career, a call which reduced him to tears.
Even north Queensland maverick politician Bob Katter on Wednesday joined the pile on, accusing the Queensland selectors of being in the pocket of Brisbane after selecting Broncos skipper Darius Boyd in the No.1 jersey.
However Ferguson defended the selection of his Kangaroos teammate, calling him the best custodian in the league over the last few years.
“I think Darbs is the form fullback in the comp and he’s been playing a couple of years at fullback (for the Maroons),” Ferguson said.
“It’s sad to see someone like Billy Slater miss out but Darbs has shown he’s earned that position.”
Walters made the difficult decision to stick with Boyd at fullback, resisting the temptation to play him on the wing and Slater in the No.1.
Slater has returned in stunning form this year following back-to-back shoulder reconstructions but given he is 33, Walters has decided to move on.
Katter on Wednesday made the unusual step of turning on his own and in a press release riddled with spelling errors accused Walters of nepotism and claimed only one per cent of Queenslanders supported Boyd’s selection ahead of Slater.
“Darrius (sic) Boyd wouldn’t know what a linebreak was if he fell over it on a dark night,” Katter’s statement said, ignoring Boyd’s record of two linebreaks, 10 linebreak assists and six try assists this year.
“We don’t deny Darrius Boyd is a solid rock on which you can build an NRL team.
“However that is not needed at State of Origin level when you have arguably all-time great players such as Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.”