'I've explained': Billy bites back at Fifita grilling

Queensland coach Billy Slater has explained his decision to axe million-dollar backrower David Fifita from the State of Origin team.

Fifita was the most notable omission from the line-up announced on Monday morning, which also included Selwyn Cobbo on the bench.

Since making his Maroons debut in 2019 Fifita has played eight games for his state, although bizarrely has jumped in and out of the team from series to series.

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He played in 2019, 2021, and 2023, but missed all of the 2020 and 2022 series.

And despite being in decent form for the Titans - who stunned the Broncos with a win on Saturday night - the barnstorming backrower has been left out of Slater's 2024 team.

'i've explained': billy bites back at fifita grilling

David Fifita has been axed by the Maroons.

"Dave created a really high standard for his footy last year," Slater said.

"He just hasn't quite got to that standard this year.

"I spoke to Dave last night. He has taken the disappointing news like a true Queenslander, he wishes the best for the footy team.

"He further reiterated that with a text message after that.

Watch the 2024 State of Origin series exclusively live and free on Nine and 9Now.

"I've got no doubt Dave will get back to the footy he played last year and I'm sure he will wear a Maroons jersey in the future again."

Slater was quizzed again on his axing of Fifita, and the coach wasn't keen to expand any further.

"I've explained pretty thoroughly, I believe," he said.

In Fifita's place Slater has recalled Dragons forward Jaydn Su'A to the left edge, while Jeremiah Nanai will be the other starting backrower.

Intriguingly there is no backrower on the bench, with Moeaki Fotuaika and J'Maine Hopgood the reserve forwards named - who both play in the middle for their clubs.

Slater said he expects any backrower to be able to play the full 80 minutes of a game.

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