Storm stars look towards the 'G'
It's one of Australia's biggest and favourite sporting landmarks which is used to playing host to rival codes, but on June 17 State of Origin will get the chance to strut its stuff in the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground and Storm stars Billy Slater and Cameron Smith couldn't be happier about it.
After Queensland prevailed 11-10 over New South Wales on Wednesday night to go one up in the three-game series, the two rival states will head to neutral ground for their first encounter in Melbourne since 2012.
For Queensland and Storm fullback Slater, who will be looking to take out a State of Origin series in the city he's played his entire professional career at, the opportunity to play at the 'G' is an exciting one for the veteran try-scoring machine.
"I'm really looking forward to [Origin II] now. Obviously living in Melbourne, I've been there for 13 years. I'm 31 now too which means more than a third of my life has been spent there so it's going to be a home game for a few of us and I'm looking forward to it," Slater said.
"I've been at the G before when it's been a sell-out and it's a huge atmosphere and I'm sure we'll get plenty of support there from the Victorians as well as everyone else as well."
Queensland captain Smith backed the sentiments of his long-term Storm teammate by labelling the occasion as a "special thing".
"No doubt to be able to go down to Melbourne and win there would be fantastic. It would be unbelievable to wrap up the series before heading back to Brisbane," Smith said.
"But that's another story isn't it? It's another chapter of State of Origin which we need to get through."
In the immediate future, the Storm duo will be looking to get through the next few weeks of NRL unharmed in hope they're able to showcase their skills further within their adopted home come Origin II.
While they'll be joined in club land by calm and collected halfback Cooper Cronk, it was usual Storm centre and Queensland winger Will Chambers who impressed Slater the most in Origin I.
Chambers recorded 260 metres, scored a match-levelling try and had zero pitfalls in defence, which made Slater's players' player selection an easy decision.
"Will played in Game Three last year and was exceptional and to be honest I think he was our best player out there [on Wednesday]. He must've made more metres than anybody and just the way he carts the ball back into them time and time again, I can't fault him," Slater said.
"He has been great. He is playing out of position as well [in Origin]. You could count on one hand how many times he's played on the wing for the Storm.
"For him to get his preparation to where it is and to go out there and play for what I thought was probably a man-of-the-match performance was an outstanding effort."
While Slater has been troubled by shoulder troubles of late, he said he would be right to take his place in Melbourne's team to take on the Sydney Roosters this Monday night.