BILLY’S BACK

Storm full­back set to re­turn from in­jury and take his place in Ori­gin I

The Weekend Post - - Sport - PETER BADEL

THE Ma­roons have re­ceived a huge boost with in­jured duo Josh McGuire and Billy Slater set to get the green light for Ori­gin I.

Queens­land coach Kevin Wal­ters has con­firmed McGuire and Slater (right) will be cho­sen on Mon­day and given ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to take their place in the se­ries opener at the MCG on Wed­nes­day June 6.

There were fears Slater could be side­lined af­ter he missed last night’s clash against the Cow­boys with a ham­string in­jury, but his club doc­tors at the Storm are con­fi­dent he will be cleared for Ori­gin I.

Mean­while, McGuire is tim­ing his come­back per­fectly, with the Bron­cos lock, who hasn’t played since in­jur­ing his an­kle against Souths in round eight, declar­ing he is ready to face the Blues.

Orig­i­nally ex­pected to miss six weeks, McGuire will be six and a half weeks into his re­cov­ery on the night of Ori­gin I.

That will con­vince Wal­ters to pick McGuire, Queens­land’s player of the se­ries last year, in the No.13 jumper for the Mel­bourne opener.

Bron­cos coach Wayne Ben­nett ex­pects McGuire to pass a fit­ness test af­ter be­ing named on an ex­tended bench for Bris­bane’s 18-10 defeat of the Eels on Thurs­day night.

“I think he will be close (for Ori­gin I),” Ben­nett said. “He is train­ing flat out.” With Bron­cos team­mate Matt Gil­lett ruled out of Ori­gin I due to a frac­tured neck, the Ma­roons are sweat­ing on McGuire’s tough­ness and workrate. McGuire, who has played eight Ori­gin games since his de­but in 2015, said he had slashed 5kg from his frame to help his lack of match fit­ness for the se­ries opener.

“I’m train­ing as if I will be picked,” he told Chan­nel 9.

“If I get to go into camp with the boys, I will be rip­ping and tear­ing and ready to go.”

The Storm are adamant Slater is fit for Ori­gin I.

Should he run on to the MCG, Slater will be­come the 10th player to en­ter Queens­land’s elite States­man’s Club with his 30th Ori­gin match.

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