Maroons ready to prepare without Slater
The Maroons are willing to put the finishing touches to their Game Three preparation without Billy Slater if it means having the champion fullback on the field with them on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium.
After five days in the relaxed surroundings of the Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast the Queensland team will move back into the heart of the Origin atmosphere in Brisbane on Monday afternoon where the electricity of the city is likely to bring an extra edge to the countdown to Game Three.
The final training session will be Tuesday afternoon's captain's run where all eyes will be on the involvement – or lack thereof – of Slater who rolled his ankle towards the end of their opposed session with the Broncos under-20s on Sunday morning.
Although there is believed to be some swelling around Slater's right ankle, good friend and Queensland captain Cameron Smith remains confident he will play, saying that he and coach Kevin Walters haven't yet discussed any contingency plans should Slater be unable to take his place.
On Sunday winger Valentine Holmes spoke of Slater's importance to the back three but Smith said skipping the final run wouldn't compromise the preparation of the team.
"I would much rather he be right to go on Wednesday night rather than push him into a captain's run and he pulls up sore again," said Smith ahead of his 42nd match for Queensland.
"We don't particularly need him there for the captain's run.
"We have done our main sessions on Friday and Sunday, that's when we got most of our work done.
"For Bill not to take part in that captain's run is not going to worry us at all."
Smith was actually standing behind Slater in the in-goal area when he went over on his ankle and although he suffered a similar injury prior to Game Two in a game against the Sharks, the captain doesn't believe this injury is serious enough to stop Slater from playing.
"I think it is quite similar to what happened against Cronulla ahead of Game Two," Smith said.
"He had a bit more time to get ready for Origin II but given we are three days out I think he will be fine.
"He told me this morning that he has done a few hops on his foot so I think he will be right to play.
"I'm not a doctor or physio but he looked pretty good to me.
"I would say he is starting on Wednesday.
"It was just an unfortunate mishap. He wasn't around anyone, he was just moving back in the defensive line. I was standing right behind him, he just sort of went over on his own foot and put a scare through the camp, but seeing how good it has pulled up he is very positive about being there on Wednesday.
"Given the way Bill has pulled up this morning it all looks extremely positive for him to be there and for us to go out as the 17 named."