NSW fullback James Tedesco says Billy Slater's retirement from representative football at the end of this year's Origin series opens the Kangaroos door for him.
NSW star James Tedesco says Blues players predicted Queensland counterpart Billy Slater would announce his retirement from representative football in the lead-up to this year's State of Origin series.
Tedesco was one of the first Blues players to congratulate Slater on his representative career when the NSW group were informed of his decision after their first training run on Tuesday.
"It's pretty sad, obviously it's the end of an era for him," Tedesco told AAP.
"He's been the top fullback for many years and he's dominated that position and been the guy everyone's based their game around at rep level and club level. He's been the man."
Slater is the fourth Maroons star to hang up the representative boots over the past 12 months, joining fellow veteran Kangaroos Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
Queensland will undoubtedly use Slater's farewell as added motivation to claim a 12th series win in 13 years - a move Tedesco anticipated when Blues players gathered for camp on Monday.
"I think we knew it was coming sooner or later," he said.
"He's still at the top of his game, even considering how old he is and he's still carving up. It'll be interesting. To not see him around in another rep jersey. It opens up opportunities I guess."
Tedesco is likely to be one of a number of contenders to fill Slater's role for the Kangaroos when they face New Zealand at the end of the year.
Blues teammate Tom Trbojevic is another, as well as Queensland winger Valentine Holmes and axed Maroons veteran Darius Boyd.
"It definitely opens up opportunities for guys like myself," Tedesco said.
"But that'd definitely be a dream come true to play for Australia and hopefully if I play good footy here and for the (Sydney) Roosters, that opportunity will come."