Valentine Holmes was surprised to see Billy Slater left out of Origin game I.
Valentine Holmes was surprised to see Billy Slater left out of Origin game I. PAUL MILLER

Elementary to pick Slater, says Holmes

VALENTINE Holmes said he was more 'shocked' at the non-selection of Billy Slater than not getting chosen himself for State of Origin game I for the Maroons.

Holmes, who will go head-to-head with Slater in a grand final rematch for Cronulla against Melbourne Storm on Thursday, said the veteran was definitely in the frame to get a recall for game II in Sydney on June 21.

The 21-year-old, who was banned from Queensland selection last year after breaking curfew at a junior Origin camp, said he could understand why selectors stayed loyal but was surprised not to see Slater included.

"I was obviously a bit shocked, but not disappointed,” he said of his own non-selection for game I.

"I know they did the job last year and they did it well and they won. I knew they wouldn't change the team too much.”

Holmes added: "I thought Billy Slater probably would have got on.

"If I was in his shoes I would be a bit upset and a bit cut.

"He's done very well for the Queensland jersey and he's done awesome for Melbourne since he came back from injury.

"I'm sure he will be in the running for the next game ... I'm sure he will be there.”

Thursday's game has been seen as an audition for Maroons places, but the Sharks backline star doesn't see it like that.

"I honestly don't think this game will make a decision on his (coach Kevin Walters) selections,” he said.

"Corey Oates and Dane Gagai played very strong and I thought they were probably the best players in the team there.”


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