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Queensland Origin side rocked by injuries to Cameron Smith, Billy Slater

Billy Slater is treated by trainer Allan Langer on Wednesday night.

Billy Slater is treated by trainer Allan Langer on Wednesday night. Photo: Getty Images

Three men and a baby could decide the State of Origin series.

Queensland could be without three-quarters of its spine for game two following revelations injuries to Cameron Smith and Billy Slater are worse than first thought. And in what could be a devastating blow to the Cane Toads’ chances of keeping alive their unprecedented eight-year run, Greg Inglis could pull out of the game to attend the birth of his first child.

Cooper Cronk is a certain scratching from the remainder of the series and is facing up to three months on the sidelines after suffering a fractured ulna and dislocated radioulnar joint in an epic opening game.

Maroons skipper Cameron Smith is in doubt for Origin II.

Maroons skipper Cameron Smith is in doubt for Origin II. Photo: Getty Images

It was thought Melbourne teammates Slater and Smith would be odds-on to play in the ANZ Stadium rematch. Slater was diagnosed with a grade-two, AC-joint sprain that would keep him out for two to three weeks, while Smith’s high ankle sprain was expected to sideline him for one or two games after he was assessed by Storm medicos.

The hardened veteran is believed to be keen to play through the pain to help the weakened side against North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night.
But in the worst-case scenario, both players could be out for three to four weeks.

The news will come as a huge blow to a Maroons outfit still counting the cost of a draining loss at Suncorp Stadium. While Inglis was expected to shift from the centres to fullback should Slater be ruled out, there is no guarantee he will be there either.

The South Sydney star and his wife, Sally, expect to become parents about June 18, the same date as the next interstate encounter. Should Inglis, a mainstay of the Maroons during their eight-year run, choose to be at the birth rather than the game, NSW’s chances of finally wrenching the trophy from their grasp will improve dramatically.

‘‘[Being a dad] means a lot,’’ Inglis said in February. ‘‘We’re just fortunate enough and blessed that Sally is carrying a bundle of joy. This is a massive year for me off the field, there’s no doubt about that, as all fathers will say, but it’s exciting times. It’s another exciting season ahead.’’

When pressed on his priorities, the Rabbitohs No.1 said: ‘‘We will have to wait and see when it comes. I’m ready for the sleepless nights, I’m having them already.’’ The ‘‘will he or won’t he play’’ drama will only add to the build-up in one of the most-anticipated Origin matches of all time. There was similar theatre around the only certain starter in the Queensland spine, Johnathan Thurston, last year.

The Cowboys playmaker and Samantha Lynch were expecting their first born on the same date as Origin I. However, he played in a record 25th consecutive match and was still present for the birth of daughter Frankie.

Daly Cherry-Evans, thrust into the halfback role when Cronk suffered his injury nine minutes in, will wear the No.7 jersey for the Maroons. He, too, is injured and in doubt for Manly’s clash in Brisbane on Sunday, but is tipped to play in Origin II.

If he doesn’t, the Maroons could use Inglis, if available, in the halves and shift Darius Boyd to fullback. Or they could be forced to call up Brisbane’s Ben Hunt or Canberra’s Anthony Milford.

Meanwhile, the NRL announced on Friday that the Storm would be served with a $10,000 breach notice – $5000 of it suspended – because coach Craig Bellamy failed to attend the post-match press conference after the win over Manly.

15 comments so far

  • Based on the Storms history in medical matters ignore the 4 weeks it will be one with so called miracles of medicine. Each year they say a period of recovery 2 3 or 4 times than other clubs and professionals and all of a sudden they are on the field playing within the expected period of time! Please Storm so the bs 5 years of overestimating recovery time is just boring now.

    Commenter
    Slow medico
    Date and time
    May 31, 2014, 4:13AM
    • Will baby Inglis be born and grow up in NSW like his father???

      Commenter
      bear54
      Location
      The Outback
      Date and time
      May 31, 2014, 6:42AM
      • And will terrorise the next generation of NSW origin teams- so what is your point exactly?

        Commenter
        Matt
        Location
        Brisvegas
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 10:04PM
    • The excuses are starting to come, something Queensland accused the NSW team of doing before the first game but are now guilty of the same thing.
      The whole Origin Concept is flawed in that players that are so pivotal to teams making the finals can get seriously injured in the State of Origin Games that are played at a much greater tempo and sense of urgency than the usual games.
      Its time State of Origin was relegated to the end of the season, after the finals when players can take the hits and punishment and injuries without putting their teams chances at risk, this is the logical thing to do but of course the NRL doesn't care about the teams just about bums on seats and the SOO are great money spinners through the middle of the competition.
      Its also time that players were stopped from making comments on any rulings that were to come before the judiciary until after the cases are heard and that goes for coaches and commentators as well. In a court of law its illegal to make statements about a case being heard until after that case is heard and there should be no difference in law in these cases. The bleating of certain people before the latest case could have been interpreted as trying to influence the judiciaries findings in a negative way and should not only be banned but those making the comments be fined or given suspensions as well. The law is the law and just because its about a game that is no reason to relax those laws.

      Commenter
      thatmosis
      Location
      Isis Central
      Date and time
      May 31, 2014, 8:55AM
      • So Tate should be suspended? Seriously...? And I suppose you think that tackle was ok? disgraceful..

        Commenter
        Paul
        Location
        brisbane
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 2:29PM
      • At the end of the season? No way. After the finals most of the players would be hobbling off the field. The origin spectacle would then become poor as the quality and the intensity would be down. I know there's no good time to have origin in terms of interfering with club season but its the best time we can work with. Also, why shouldn't the NRL care about bums on seats. That's part of the magic, playing with 80,000 fans behind you or 55,000 against you. It's also one of the few masterstrokes that helps the NRL survive financially, if origin was on after the GF that would mean less money for everyone, your club included. Footy season ends with the premiers, anything after would be a joke.

        Commenter
        phil
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 6:00PM
      • +1

        Commenter
        Matt
        Location
        Brisvegas
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 10:05PM
    • And only a miracle has prevented Brent Tate from joining them!

      The NRL treatment of that dangerous tackle is a disgrace. Are we meant to imagine this would be the outcome had this happened in a regular game?

      The player out for 7 weeks was duded. The CEO of Canterbury needs to take stock and refrain from stupid comments

      Commenter
      Maui
      Date and time
      May 31, 2014, 9:34AM
      • A total disgrace but quite normal for NSW players to receive no penalties on foul play that should receive suspension.....so obviously that tackle is fine NO PROBLEM...ok bring it on..

        This why Qld hates your guts....

        Commenter
        Paul
        Location
        brisbane
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 2:26PM
      • Wally Lewis didnt have a problem with it. At the time Wally said (when we saw the replay in the telecast) that 'even as a one eyed Queenslander', it looked accidental with no malice intended. Check it out. These things will happen in the intensity of Origin. When they happen against Queensland though, its always a different story. Like the time when that Q'land goon Price started a fight and NSW Brett White finished it. Only Queensland could whinge about starting a fight then losing it.

        Commenter
        cl
        Date and time
        May 31, 2014, 3:53PM

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