Ahead of game one of 2018’s State of Origin, Queensland have been hit by the injury news of Melbourne Storm and Australian rugby league icon Billy Slater who has been hit by the recurrence of a hamstring problem.
After being named in the starting thirteen last week, Kevin Walters’ team has seen their star full back ruled out just two days ahead from the series opener. The 34-year-old and former world player of the year reportedly sustained the blow shortly before the Maroons team were due to fly to Melbourne and, with this series being Slater’s last representative appearance, it means that the full back will miss out on the chance to play one more time in an Origin jersey in front of his home fans.
While the team is glittering with superstars, the absence of Slater is sure to be felt by the Maroons and the last time they fielded a team without Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk or Johnathan Thurston – all three of whom have retired – was Game Two of State of Origin’s 2003 series, a match won by New South Wales 27-4.
Contenders to replace Slater include Brisbane Broncos’ Darius Boyd while his team mate Anthony Milford and Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga are, according to Australian media, set to join up with the squad shortly.