Reports: Slater in doubt for Origin I

NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Monday, 4 June 2018, 6:50PM
Billy Slater's availability for Origin 1 on Wednesday night is in doubt. Photo / Getty
Billy Slater's availability for Origin 1 on Wednesday night is in doubt. Photo / Getty

Billy Slater's availability for Origin 1 on Wednesday night is in doubt after the Daily Telegraph reported he may have injured his hamstring at a Queensland training session on Sunday.

The Daily Telegraph's bombshell could leave the Maroons scrambling for a replacement at fullback, with Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga and Brisbane's Darius Boyd now back in the mix.

The Maroons outfit has already lost dozens of games of experience after the Origin retirements of veteran trio Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk. Depending on the severity of the injury, Slater's days are numbered too given he's already declared this year would be his last with Queensland.

Slater's absence, especially if he was replaced by a debutant in Ponga, would leave Queensland with an incredibly green spine.

Coach Kevin Walters could also opt for Cowboys half Michael Morgan in the No. 1 jersey.

An out-of-sorts Morgan was shifted from pivot to fullback by the Cowboys in a bid to regain his Midas touch.

Morgan joked that he may not even have his Cowboys fullback gig when he returns from Maroons camp after fill-in No.1 Lachlan Coote helped inspire North Queensland's NRL win over Manly on Thursday.

"I thought Cootey had a pretty good game the other night. Actually Greeny (Cowboys coach Paul Green) rang me up after the game and said 'no rush back fellas, good luck on Wednesday'," Morgan laughed.

"Who knows, I might go back to the (Cowboys feeder side Townsville) Blackhawks."

Instead of taking over the Maroons No.7 jersey, Morgan had been relegated back to the bench utility role he first filled in his 2015 Origin debut.

Morgan was expecting to make his eighth bench appearance in his ninth Origin on Wednesday after his sole Maroons start in game three last year in the centres.

While disappointed to have missed a rare chance to nail down a Maroons halves start, Morgan was convinced his Queensland stint could catapult him back to his 2017 form.

"I wanted to come in with a fresh mindset, leave what happened at clubland there for a little while, enjoy the week here and that is what I have done," Morgan said.

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