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Monday, June 4, 2018

Billy Slater reportedly ruled out of Origin I

QUEENSLAND have been struck a devastating blow with Billy Slater reportedly ruled out of Wednesday night’s Origin series opener after reinjuring his hamstring, which forced him out of Melbourne’s Round 12 clash with the Cowboys.

Slater was picked by the Maroons with an injury cloud over his head and despite positive updates out of camp it appears he has lost his race against the clock after pushing himself through training.
"I didn't pull up as well as I would have liked after our training run on Sunday, and because I'm not 100 per cent, it's in my best interests as well as the team's to withdraw from Wednesday's game," Slater said in a statement.
Slater failed a fitness test, meaning a possible return for Brisbane veteran Darius Boyd to wear the number one jersey.
His withdrawal came after he was given the green light by Queensland coach Kevin Walters, who said every player was still available to him.
But via a statement he confirmed Slater was ruled out.
"We knew we had some concerns with Billy, but he's a champion player and we needed to give him every chance to play," Walters said.
"We've had plans in place to cover Billy if he didn't come up right, and we've actioned that today with Anthony and Kalyn coming in."
It is a huge blow for the Maroons who are already without retired greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
Half-back Ben Hunt (thigh) and lock Josh McGuire (ankle) were their other injury concerns.
Boyd could be recalled to the side to wear the number one jersey in place of Slater.
Michael Morgan — currently on the bench as Queensland's utility — is another full-back option while Newcastle rookie Kalyn Ponga may also be in the mix.
Ponga and Anthony Milford have been flown to Melbourne to link up with the Maroons squad.