Melbourne Storm�s Queensland State of Origin representatives Billy Slater and Cameron Smith are set to back up for their second gruelling match in four days, when the Storm plays the Knights in Newcastle this Saturday.
Both players got through last night�s epic golden point loss unscathed and despite enduring an 83-minute marathon, Smith and Slater have declared themselves fit for Saturday night�s match at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
After playing every minute for the Maroons and finishing as the game�s leading tackler with an incredible 55 tackles, Smith will resume his battle with New South Wales and Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus this weekend, following their duel in last night�s Origin opener.
�I�m feeling pretty tired today, this would be the most tired I have felt after any game I�ve ever played before,� said Smith, who was left physically ill after last night�s lengthy encounter.
�I was actually a bit crook after the game due to exhaustion I think, it was just such a draining match. Apart from feeling tired and having a few bumps and bruises, I feel good and should be fine for Saturday�s match.�
�I�ve just got to put Origin behind me now and look forward to what is going to be a pretty important game in Newcastle. We�ve had a couple of wins in a row and it�s important that we keep it going this week.�
Slater is still coming to terms with QLD�s narrow 9-8 loss, but despite limited opportunities and playing in a relatively unfamiliar position (wing), Slater�s Origin debut was highlighted by several quality touches in both attack and defence.
�I haven�t pulled up too bad, obviously playing on the wing doesn�t require quite as much running compared to playing at fullback, so I�m feeling pretty strong,� Slater explained.
�I don�t think it will be a problem getting up for the match against the Knights, we certainly won�t be using it as an excuse anyway.�
The emotion of Slater�s first foray into the representative scene was tempered by the Maroons� loss, but the experience has left the former track-work jockey wanting another taste of Origin football.
�It was quite hard to get into the match from the wing, I wasn�t as involved as I�d have liked to be, but I don�t think I made any mistakes which was pleasing and I didn�t really know what to expect going into the match,� Slater added.
�The end result was a real let down considering we had them on the ropes in that first half, for them to come back at us and win in extra time was a disappointment.
�It was a great experience though and just makes you want to play at that level more and more, we�ve got two more club games before the next Origin so I�ll be playing my best to try and get another match.�
Slater and Smith will join their Storm teammates for a final training session tomorrow morning (10am, Olympic Park) before travelling to Newcastle later in the day.