Slater tips Boyd as heir apparent
Billy Slater has tipped Darius Boyd to take over as Australian fullback when he retires but also insists Valentine Holmes is doing a "fantastic job" on the wing ahead of the World Cup final.
Holmes has made no secret of his preference for the fullback position and his 11 tries in the past two World Cup games on the left wing have showcased his exciting running game and awareness –strengths any top class fullback must have.
Boyd played fullback for Australia and Queensland while Slater was out injured for the best part of two seasons and the Melbourne custodian said Boyd's superb record at the back should not be forgotten.
The Broncos captain missed this World Cup due to a hamstring injury but is only 30 years old and has signed a four-year deal with the Broncos which will see him in the representative frame for several seasons yet.
"It is not for me to say, but Darius Boyd presented our jerseys to us this week and I think he is probably next in line," Slater said when asked who should fill his shoes when he retired.
"He has done the job in the last couple of years and he is a fantastic fullback, and a pretty complete one at that.
"The younger guys like Tommy [Trbojevic] and Val are still working on becoming an all-round, good fullback.
"They are going to do that. They are tremendous players and very talented players, but I know when I first came in to play in the NRL I wasn't the complete fullback. It takes time to build those skills."
Slater said Holmes was proving to be a match-winner for the Kangaroos on the wing and was confident he would work on developing the skills needed to be a representative number one.
"He is a great footballer and he is doing some tremendous things at the moment," Slater said.
"There is a lot of talk about where he is going to play but I think he will build the skills in his game to play in a little bit closer in his career.
"At the job he is doing a fantastic job for us on the wing, finishing off some great movements and creating a lot of opportunities for himself.
"[Fullback] is a position where you have got to be skilled in a lot of areas.
"Talking is one. The young guys are a bit shy and when you are playing with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk it is not easy to be dominant with your talk, but you have got to be dominant and instructional with where you want players and that just comes over time.
"They will build that…and they are great runners of the footy, the young guys coming through these days."