The Queensland Maroons have lost Billy Slater from their State of Origin team for Game 1 of the series.
“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.
Anthony Milford and Kalyn Ponga have been brought into the Queensland Maroons camp to cover for his absence.
“We knew we had some concerns with Billy, but he’s a champion player and we needed to give him every chance to play,” Queensland coach Kevin 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’s expected that Michael Morgan will play at full back, with one of Milford or Ponga to replace Morgan on the bench.
Slater announced last week that this Origin series will be his last.
“I just feel it’s time,” Slater said upon announcing his retirement.
“To be honest, I can’t give you a real answer on why exactly, but I’m 35 this year, this will be my 15th year for Queensland.
“I had a fair indication that the World Cup last year would be the last time I played for Australia, it’s been on my mind for a while, I always felt this would be my last Origin series.
“The guys that have gone last year (Thurston and Cronk) and Cam’s decision had no bearing for me.
“I just made the decision myself. The pressure is relieved letting everyone know and being honest.”
The series begins on Wednesday night at the MCG, with kick-off slated for 8pm AEST.
— BUZZ ROTHFIELD (@BuzzRothfield) June 4, 2018