Injured Slater named in Origin decider squad
A final decision on Billy Slater's fitness to play will be made on Friday. Photo: Andy Zakeli
Injured star Bill Slater has been named in the starting side for Queensland as Mal Meninga gives his champion fullback a last-ditch chance to prove his fitness for the Origin decider.
Slater hasn’t taken the field since injuring his posterior cruciate ligament in game two of the series and his knee will be tested over coming days to see if he is able to take part in the much-anticipated finale in Brisbane next week.
He has remained in Melbourne with Storm medical staff and a judgement will be made by Friday.
"At this stage, we're very hopeful. But uncertain. We can't make any judgements on that. The Melbourne club has been extremely helpful. He's desperate to play," Meninga said today.
Meninga has named plenty of cover in a generous 20-man squad announced at Coolum this afternoon, where the side will remain for the week and go into camp.
North Queensland’s Matt Bowen returns to the Origin fold, as does Storm centre Dane Nielsen, who will come into play if Slater falls short and Greg Inglis switches to fullback.
Brisbane’s Ben Te’o has been 18th man in Origin before and could find himself on the bench, where he will fight for spots alongside Ben Hannant, David Shillington, Matt Gillett, Dave Taylor and potentially Bowen, whose versatility earned him the spot over an in-form Ben Barba.
Corey Parker has been named at lock after the withdrawal yesterday of Ashley Harrison with a toe injury.
Matt Scott will join the team later in the week after the funeral of his mother Diane, who passed away after a battle with cancer last week.
Queensland squad Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), Petero Civoniceva, Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange Ben Hannant, Ben Te’o, Dave Taylor, David Shillington, Matt Gillett, Matt Bowen, Dane Nielsen.