No Maroons Origin skipper succession plan, says Slater

While Melbourne captain Harry Grant appears the likely next Queensland captain, coach Billy Slater says he has no succession plans in place for when Maroons skipper Daly Cherry-Evans calls time on his State of Origin career.

Star hooker Grant appeared at Tuesday's State of Origin launch at the MCG alongside Slater and joked he still had to win selection for the series, which starts in Sydney on June 5.

While Grant's place in the Queensland squad is guaranteed barring injury, Slater said jerseys and leadership roles were earned rather than anointed.

"I'm not big on succession plans when it comes to representative football," Slater said.

"I think you earn the right to play in the jersey.

"There's a number of great leaders within the Queensland State of Origin team, and to be honest, if you're representing Queensland at this level, you're probably a leader in some way anyway.

"So that'll naturally take its course, that'll naturally happen, so I don't think it's appropriate to go and try and create leaders as a succession plan."

Cherry-Evans took over in 2019 from another Melbourne hooking great, Cameron Smith, when he stepped back from representative football.

Daly Cherry-Evans
Daly Cherry-Evans holds up the State of Origin Shield after Queensland won last year's series.

Queensland have won three of the five series since, and will be hunting their third successive title this year.

He might be 35, but halfback Cherry-Evans has been in vintage form this season, steering Manly into the top eight, so Slater said he didn't have to think about a replacement any time soon.

"I don't think Daly's giving it away any time soon, he's playing some great footy," the coach said.

"He's doing a great job for Manly, and his performance is his key attribute.

"That's the number one trait of a great leader, their performance in their position."

Asked what his own future held, Slater quickly ruled out the Melbourne Storm coaching job should Craig Bellamy carry through on his yearly threat to retire.

Slater said the Maroons job had given him unexpected "fulfilment".

"I've always had a drive to be as good as I possibly can in whatever I do, whether it's playing, coaching,  my commentary role - I plan and prepare for that," he said.

"I've always had a self-drive, but I don't really have any set goals on what I want to achieve as a coach.

"I'm really enjoying helping this group be as good as they can ... it's given me a fulfilment that I probably didn't realise it would give me.

"Just how proud I am of a group of people that go out and achieve something and actually helping them do that, become the best that they can be.

"The people who we're representing are so important and that's not lost to these players, so helping them do that is certainly an honour." 

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