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