2023 State of Origin - NSW v QLD: Game 3
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Maroons coach Billy Slater looks on after game three of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on July 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

While Brad Fittler sits anxiously, waiting to see whether he still has a coaching job in 2024, Billy Slater has been handed a long-term extension by Queensland Rugby League.

The former Storm flyer only made his Origin coaching debut last season, guiding Queensland to two series victories in as many attempts on the back of some in-form selections.

The QRL weren't the only ones to recognise his potential as a head coach though as his former side in the Storm pursued their former fullback to become Craig Bellamy's successor.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Wally Lewis speaks to Billy Slater of Queensland after presenting him with the Player of the Series medal after game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It would be a real passing of the torch moment for Bellamy, who will enter his 22nd consecutive year as Melbourne's head coach in 2024, and debuted Billy in his very first match as an NRL coach in 2003.

However, The Daily Telegraph reports that Slater has rejected the club's advances in order to sign a three-year extension as the Maroons' front-man.

It's a monumental moment for Queensland, who are looking to become the first Origin period to three-peat since the Maroons did it in 2015-17. Slater donned the No. 1 jersey in 2017 to lift the shield, and now he's tasked with inspiring a side to recreate the same feat.

Slater believes there are big things to come for Queensland over the next few years.

“It's an incredible honour to be the Queensland coach,” Slater told The Daily Telegraph.

“I'm excited about the journey that this current group of players and staff have embarked upon.

“I believe they are only getting started.

“From the very beginning, I was drawn to this role because I deeply understand the importance of this team to all Queenslanders.

2023 State of Origin - NSW v QLD: Game 3
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons and teammates celebrate with the State of Origin Shield after game three of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on July 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

“I'm a proud Queenslander and this team means a lot to me.

“It has been a massive part of my life and I'm extremely grateful to get the opportunity to help other people, not only fulfill their dream but inspire our state.”

QRL CEO Ben Ikin echoed his sentiments and is elated to have his coach locked in through to the end of 2026.

“To be able to lock in someone of Billy's calibre is a brilliant outcome for our Origin program and the people who work with and support the Maroons,” Ikin said.

“Over the past two years, we've witnessed a team that has made Queenslanders immensely proud, and it's been Billy's vision and leadership driving that.

“Our players are not only going to new levels on the field, but their commitment to engaging with our fans across the state has been first class.

“We're excited to have Billy lead our team for the next three years and we look forward to start planning for the 2024 series.”

Slater already has a massive selection headache on his hands despite sitting eight months out from Game I selections, with the speed and track record of Reece Walsh to come up against the reigning Dally M medallist in Kalyn Ponga for the fullback role.