Billy Slater   Digital Image by Brett Crockford ©nrlphotos.com :	    NRL

Billy Slater back in a Maroons jersey.

It is a sight to warm the hearts of those up north and perhaps one they thought they may never see again.

But as the Storm champion prepares to head back to his home state this weekend for the NRL Double Header, State of Origin duty is now firmly back on Slater’s agenda.

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Slater now has seven games under his belt since returning from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of much of the last two seasons.

He has got better with each one of those appearances and while he missed out on an Australian jersey in last Friday’s ANZAC Test, a return to the representative arena may not be that far away.

Kevin Walters will name his Queensland squad on Monday week for Game I of the 2017 Origin series and the Maroons coach has been in close contact with the man looking to add to his 27 Origin games.

“I have kept in contact with Kevie throughout the start of the year, mainly just to see how I’m going and how my body is going,” Slater said.

“It is exciting times, I am a Queenslander, I haven’t played for Queensland for a couple of years and I’d love the opportunity to get back in that arena.

“It is obviously a very strong side but there is still a couple of rounds of footy to go so hopefully I can continue to play good football and if I get that opportunity I will make the most of it.”

Darius Boyd has filled Queensland’s No.1 during Slater’s absence.

A hot topic around this year’s series will be which star fullback Walters’ will opt for but Slater stressed there was no ‘rivalry’ with his good friend and Broncos counterpart.

“Darius is a good mate of mine and a good teammate of mine,” Slater said.

“It is not a rivalry between Darius and myself, it is what is best for Queensland.

“I have played a lot of football with Darius. He is a fantastic fullback and is playing some wonderful football, probably the best he’s played in his whole career.

“He is a great asset to Queensland… it will be what is best for Queensland and the selectors and coach will come up with that.”