26 Jun 2012

Slater named in 20-man Maroons squad

4:10 pm on 26 June 2012

Superstar rugby league fullback Billy Slater has been named in an enlarged Queensland State of Origin squad, as the selectors wrestle with some major decisions ahead of the series decider against New South Wales next Wednesday.

Twenty players have been named as insurance to cover lingering injuries to Slater, Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday.

The Queensland camp is privately confident Slater could be ready to play next week, only three weeks after partially tearing his posterior cruciate ligament.

Greg Inglis is expected to wear the No.1 jersey if Slater succumbs to injury, with Melbourne's Dane Nielsen likely to slot into Inglis' left centre spot.

The Bulldog Ben Barba has not been included, with experienced North Queensland fullback Matt Bowen earning a recall.

Gold Coast lock Ashley Harrison has been ruled out with a broken toe, handing Brisbane's Corey Parker his Origin starting debut at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

Parker's Broncos teammate Ben Te'o has been called into the extended Maroons squad. South Sydney forward Dave Taylor lost his starting spot to Thaiday and will be under pressure to make the bench with the inclusion of Te'o.

Selectors will make a final call on whether Matt Scott starts after the Cowboys enforcer attends his mother's funeral on Wednesday.

Squad: Matt Bowen, Darius Boyd, Petero Civoniceva, Cooper Cronk, Matt Gillett, Ben Hannant, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Nate Myles, Dane Nielsen, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, David Shillington, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith (captain), Brent Tate, David Taylor, Ben Te'o, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston