Slater still the No.1 for Origin spot

WITH computers controlling almost every aspect of our daily lives, it is understandable that those looking to establish an argument on team selections would turn to statistics.

So it was not surprising to see a whole bunch of stats over the weekend supporting the theory that Greg Inglis should take over from Billy Slater as Queensland Origin fullback.

But while statistics can reveal much about a player, they can also sugarcoat inadequacies.

Maroons coach Mal Meninga has already made it abundantly clear - barring injury, Slater will wear the No.1 jersey in Origin one, and it will not be simply a case of the selectors staying loyal to the incumbent.

Statistics might tell us that Billy is struggling in 2014, but that mirrors the overall form of his Storm teammates.

If he is guilty of anything, it is trying too hard.

He supposedly made four errors in their loss to the Warriors on Anzac Day, but those who watched the game would understand why. Slater was involved in everything.

On the other hand Inglis was lauded for his performance against the Broncos, largely in respect of his memorable solo try that covered almost the length of Suncorp Stadium.

The try was something right out of the box and a display of the majestic skills Inglis possesses.

But if statistics are to be the yardstick, how about those wanting to axe one of the most brilliant players of the modern era consider all stats, not just a select few.

And let's take Friday's games as an example.

Inglis had 22 possessions for 205 metres gained - 90 of which were from that one spectacular effort.

He made just three tackles and had two errors, one which led directly to a Broncos try, also had two try assists and made two line breaks.

Conversely, while making his supposed four errors, Slater ran 220 metres, had 45 possessions, pulled off 12 tackles and made two line breaks.

My point is that while everything about Inglis is unquestionably class and the big bloke can be a match winner, for a marquee player his involvement is too sporadic.

Too often he loiters like a traffic cop, as was the case when he stood in the in-goal area and watched as Matt Gillett rolled away from three defenders to score.

Don't get me wrong - my intention is not to be overly-critical of Inglis.

He is a freakish talent and in time will be regarded as one of the game's best.

But for my money Slater remains the number one No.1 because he is generally involved in every attacking set and threatens the defence more often.

Both are outstanding players, one just does more work.

And together, for Queensland, they will again be dynamite.


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