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O'Neill to replace injured Slater in All Stars

NRL.com Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - 10:26 AM

He scored a spectacular try in the Storm’s 2012 Telstra Premiership Grand Final win, now Melbourne young gun Justin O’Neill is about to join the game’s most exciting talents in the 2013 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars in Brisbane next month.

O’Neill, 21, received the call-up from NRL All Stars Coach Wayne Bennett today to replace injured champion Storm fullback Billy Slater in the fourth annual clash at Suncorp Stadium on February 9.

Slater’s pre-season training has been hampered since aggravating an ankle injury and due to the removal of a plate in his shoulder from an injury sustained in the 2011 Four Nations Tour.

He will continue on a modified program with the goal of being fit for the club’s World Club Challenge match on February 22 against Leeds Rhinos.

“It’s disappointing Billy won’t be able to play, but I’m excited and honoured to be part of the NRL All Stars team and I’m looking forward to playing with and against some of the best players in the competition,” O’Neill said.

“I have family living in Brisbane so it will be very special to play my first representative game in front of them.”

The Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars is supported by Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural, regional and business events across Queensland.