CANBERRA -- Firebrand Queensland MP Bob Katter can be confidently relied upon to usually be revved up about something, whether that be crocodiles, natural gas, farming, banks, infrastructure or other rural issues affecting his northern electorate.
But on Wednesday, the Member for Kennedy turned his ire to an unlikely target -- the Queensland State of Origin rugby league team, and specifically, star fullback Darius Boyd. Katter is fuming that Origin legend Billy Slater, of the Melbourne Storm, was left out of the team in favour of Boyd, and the federal MP says he plans to lodge an official complaint.
"Some of the greatest try saving tackles recorded in rugby league history, belong to Billy Slater. Few would question that he can make a break out of nothing," Katter said, in a media release titled "SLATER HAS BEEN SHAFTED": KATTER BACKS FOOTBALL GREAT BILLY SLATER.
In a 400-word statement, where Boyd's first name is continually misspelled (the Broncos' captain is Darius, not Darrius) Katter rubbishes the choice of team selectors to leave Slater out of the squad to play NSW in the series opener next week in Brisbane. Katter accused selectors of "cronyism".
The selection was controversial, with Origin great Slater in good form this season but having played only a handful of games in the past few years after several serious injuries. Boyd, on the other hand, has been one of the form players in the competition in recent years, captaining the Broncos and winning the QLD player of the series award in the 2016 campaign.
"Darrius Boyd wouldn't know what a line break was, if he fell over it on a dark night," Katter said.
"The QLD selectors and coach clearly are in the pocket of the Broncos. And we the rugby league family, respect them for their club loyalty. But when that loyalty overrides the aspirations of the rugby league family of QLD to win the State of Origin, there would not be 1% of Rugby League followers who would say that Darrius Boyd - a good stock NRL player, should be picked ahead of an "inform" without a doubt – one of the three greatest fullbacks in Rugby League history."
"It disheartens and disillusions people when cronyism prevails over fairness and talent."
Katter said he will be making "an official complaint to the board of the Rugby League of QLD".
"Slater has been shafted – what the Broncos complained about the Sydney clubs for so many years now apply to them," he said.
Queensland, featuring Darius Boyd, play NSW next Wednesday night.
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