Meninga not into mind games for Origin III
Queensland coach Mal Meninga says he won’t dabble in mind games despite naming a 20-man roster for next week’s State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Meninga will trim three players by the weekend and everything hinges on whether Melbourne star Billy Slater wins his battle with a serious knee injury.
With North Queensland’s Matthew Bowen, Storm centre Dane Nielsen and aggressive Brisbane utility Ben Te’o all named on Tuesday, Meninga will keep NSW and Queensland fans guessing through to the weekend and maybe longer before revealing his hand.
“I hate playing with minds – I don’t want to do that,” Meninga told AAP after Queensland named its side alphabetically for the first time on Tuesday.
“The players will understand by the end of the day where they stand with me.”
The players might know, but the public may not until the day of the game.
The general consensus is Greg Inglis will step into the fullback role if Slater’s bold bid comes unstuck with Nielsen taking his left centre spot.
But Meninga said Bowen, who played the last of his 10 Origins in 2007, was also a fullback option as well as a bench utility proposition because he could cover other positions, including dummy half.
“We’re in no hurry – we don’t have to make those decisions just yet,” he said.
Meninga said centre Justin Hodges (ribs) would be monitored during the week and admitted there were “some concerns” surrounding prop Matt Scott who was dealing with the recent death of his mother Diane.
Brisbane utility Matt Gillett and South Sydney forward Dave Taylor, who both played in the first two Origins, will need to train well during the week with D-Day on Friday.
Meninga said Te’o had been added to the squad because Queensland weren’t aggressive enough against NSW who had started both games with more grunt.
“We need to be a bit more aggressive about the way we go about our business and Ben certainly brings that,” he said.
“He’s a great defender and he’s playing great for the Broncos. He gives us a few more options in the back-row and out wide.
“He’s definitely in the picture.
“We’ll make those decisions at the back end of the week but he’s being seriously considered to make our bench for sure.”© AAP 2013