Queensland team for 2012 State of Origin Game 3 announced
Mal Meninga and the Maroons (AAP)
Queensland have named a 20-strong squad for the 2012 State of Origin Game 3 decider to provide cover for their injured stars, which include fullback Billy Slater.
Slater features in Queensland’s expanded squad, but is racing the clock to be fit after suffering a knee injury in Origin II, initially expected to sideline him for up to another three weeks.
Greg Inglis is expected to wear the No.1 jersey if Slater succumbs to injury, with Melbourne’s Dane Nielsen likely to slot into Inglis’ left centre spot.
Canterbury’s Ben Barba has not been included, with experienced North Queensland fullback Matt Bowen earning a recall to the 20-man squad.
Maroons selectors are also sweating on Justin Hodges (ribs) and Sam Thaiday (shoulder), while Gold Coast lock Ashley Harrison (broken toe) has been ruled out, handing Brisbane’s Corey Parker his Origin starting debut against NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday July 4.
Parker’s Broncos teammate Ben Te’o has been called into the extended Maroons squad.
South Sydney forward Dave Taylor lost his starting spot to Thaiday and will be under pressure to make the bench with the inclusion of Te’o.
Selectors will make a final call on whether Matt Scott starts after the Cowboys enforcer attends his mother’s funeral on Wednesday.
If Queensland win game three, they will seal a seventh straight series, giving retiring prop Petero Civoniceva a fitting farewell in Maroons colours.
Meninga will give Slater until the end of the week to prove his fitness.
“He ran yesterday, he was very upbeat, we are very hopeful but we can’t make any judgements just yet,”he said.
And asked about whether Inglis would replace Slater at fullback, Meninga said: “We’ve got Matt (Bowen) here as well, but we are in no hurry (to make a decision).”
Squad (alphabetical): Matt Bowen, Darius Boyd, Petero Civoniceva, Cooper Cronk, Matt Gillett, Ben Hannant, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Nate Myles, Dane Nielsen, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, David Shillington, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith (capt), Brent Tate, David Taylor, Ben Te’o, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.© AAP 2013