Bronco Wallace's Origin hopes nosedive
Groin injury ... Peter Wallace. Photo: Getty Images
Peter Wallace's hopes of breaking back into State of Origin have taken a blow with Brisbane's in-form half battling a groin injury expected to rule him out of next weekend's annual City-Country Origin trial.
Wallace has a grade one groin tear, forcing him to withdraw from Friday night's NRL clash with Canberra at Suncorp Stadium.
It flared up at training on Tuesday and is likely to prevent him playing for City alongside likely NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce which would have given Blues coach Ricky Stuart a chance to look at them as his possible Origin halves.
"It's a tear, it's only a small one but the risk of further injury is there," Wallace told AAP after Ben Hunt was confirmed as his replacement for the Raiders match by coach Anthony Griffin.
Wallace has been in career-best form this season, taking control of the key decisions and getting his forwards firing following the retirement of captain Darren Lockyer.
"We're just taking a precaution with Pete," said Griffin who has faith in Hunt and five-eighth Corey Norman to do the job.
"They've both been trying to get into the halves, now they're going to get a run there together.
"Ben's done the job there for us before and he gets another chance and he needs to be ruthless and get us around the park like Pete Wallace would.
"He's a different player to Pete and he won't be going out there to play a Peter Wallace-type of game.
"The important thing for him is that he is strong (defensively) on the edge which is the one thing Wal did for us."
Young prop Dunamis Lui and back-up hooker Kurt Baptiste come onto the bench with Hunt starting.
Griffin conceded Canberra's size up front would be a real challenge for his forwards but said he wouldn't be instructing his players to ditch the controversial shoulder charge which has cost forward Ben Te'o two games on the sidelines.
"I don't have an opinion on it (shoulder charge) other than we're trying to beat the Raiders," he said.
"We haven't had a real problem with the judiciary.
"I don't think we're going to have one any more than any other team so they (players) don't need any direction."
With forward giants Dave Shillington (114kg), Dane Tilse (113kg)and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (110kg) pouring through the middle, Canberra boast the biggest pack in the competition.
"Whenever you play Canberra you have to meet that physical challenge first with Shillington, Learoyd-Lahrs, (Josh) Papalii and (Bronson) Harrison are all big blokes," Griffin said.
"If you don't meet that physical challenge in the middle you know you're in big trouble.
"What's important for us is we're a few men down from our starting side and we have to be strong enough to show a bit of character, no matter who is in the side."
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