Maroons put a deadline on Slater
QUEENSLAND'S ongoing injury crisis is set to carry on into their Game Two preparations, after it was confirmed that they will be without Michael Morgan while Billy Slater's D-Day has been set for Wednesday.
The Maroons will have both Slater (hamstring) and prop Dylan Napa (ankle) under an injury cloud this week, as they ramp up their campaign to square the Origin series at one-all on Sunday.
Veteran fullback Slater has been battling his hamstring issue since before Origin I while an old ankle injury of Napa's flared up while the prop was playing for the Roosters on Friday night.
Queensland selector Darren Lockyer confirmed however that Slater will only be given until Wednesday to prove his fitness for what would be his 30th Origin match so the team can find a suitable replacement for the star No.1.
"Billy has indicated to Kevvie that he will be right to play," Lockyer told Channel 9.
"In light of what happened in Game One where our preparation had a lot of distractions (with injuries) and a lot of guys couldn't train, Kevvie wants to hit the ground running on Wednesday.
"He wants 17 guys fit and ready.
"Billy obviously will be named at No. 1 and training on Wednesday and if there any issues then someone like Kalyn Ponga will come in."
Slater was a late withdrawal ahead of Game One, with bench utility Morgan brought into the starting side to replace him.
However, the Maroons will be without the experience of the Cowboys playmaker after it was confirmed that he has to undergo surgery this week.
Morgan tore his left bicep in North Queensland's loss to the Warriors on Friday and went for scans on Saturday.
While Maroons officials had already ruled him out of the entire Origin series on Saturday, the Cowboys did not find out until yesterday that he would require surgery on the arm this week.
The club are still unclear on exactly how long he will be sidelined for, with a spokesman confirming that the surgeon wants to see how Morgan recovers.
He has also been battling an ongoing groin problem this season.