Biggest game of my Origin career: Slater
Queensland fullback Billy Slater rates his 17th appearance for the Maroons this Wednesday in the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series decider at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium as the biggest game in his seven-year Origin career.
Slater, 28, who has played in five winning Origin series, four NRL grand finals and a World Cup final in the past five years, says game three of the 2011 Origin series "certainly feels like one of the big ones".
"I can't remember a build-up with so much attention and so much at stake," Slater told Sydney's 95.3FM.
"Obviously the dominant run we've had over the last five years is a huge contributor to that.
"And the Blues are playing some really good footy. Their completion rates in that second game were outstanding and I'm sure they will be riding on a fair bit of confidence.
"With Darren Lockyer's last game and all that sort of stuff it's certainly the biggest game I've prepared for in an Origin. It's really exciting but.
"It's exciting to be involved in it. It goes to show State of Origin is the elite. It draws the most attention.
"I'm sure everyone who has a ticket to this game is not letting go of this one."
Slater said that despite the "huge occasion", Queensland would do things relatively the same as they have for games one and two.
"We've got a lot at stake … as do the Blues," he said. "But the Blues are riding on a lot of confidence after the first and second games.
"We have the opportunity to go six-nil in the series; six straight wins … and obviously send off one of the greatest players ever to pull on a Maroons jersey on a note that he deserves."
Slater said one of the strengths of the Queensland team was "the great belief in the side".
"The current crop of players that we've got together at the moment have been through a fair bit," he said.
"We just believe in the game plan and the people around us to get ourselves out of trouble.
"It's really important that we hit the lead and really put them (NSW) away this time. The last couple of times they have come back at us although we started the game well.
"They have come back and hit the front. It's important that we really start well in front of our home crowd."
Slater agrees that playing in front of a sell-out parochial crowd at Suncorp Stadium for Queensland captain Darren Lockyer's final Origin match in the series decider will be an advantage.
"But we can't think that Suncorp Stadium is going to win us that game of footy," he said. "We have to rely on our actions and how we turn up mentally and physically prepared for the game.
"It's important that we go out there not thinking the crowd brings us across the line, but if we do start well and we do bring the crowd into the game, that will be a real advantage for us.
"You can't beat the atmosphere of playing footy there and I'm really looking forward to it."