A big 20-man squad has been named by Queensland Maroons selectors as insurance against a number of their injured stars ahead of the State of Origin 2012 teams tackling the decider in Game 3 at Suncorp Stadium Wednesday week.
Queensland will look to bounce back after a loss to the New South Wales Blues down in Sydney in Game 2 of the 2012 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series and post their incredible seventh straight series win with a victory in the third and final battle on July 4.
State of Origin odds for Game 3 are now out at bookmaker.com.au!
Game two was a brutal clash and the Maroons felt the pinch with ace fullback Billy Slater one of their big injury concerns.
Despite the sore knee that was originally set to see him miss up to another three weeks, Slater has been named in the Game 3 Queensland team, the Melbourne Storm star’s fitness pending.
“He ran yesterday, he was very upbeat, we are very hopeful but we can’t make any judgments just yet,” Maroons’ coach Mal Meninga said on Tuesday.
If he isn’t passed to play Greg Inglis is tipped to fill the Maroon’s No. 1 jersey.
Other players fighting to be fit ahead of game three for Queensland include Broncos’ skipper Sam Thaiday (shoulder) and fellow Brisbanite Justin Hodges (ribs).
Thaiday missed the second of the series but proved he was ready to fire in the Broncos’ important 26 – 12 victory over the Rabbitohs at Suncorp last Friday night.
The re-inclusion of Thaiday has seen monster Rabbitohs forward Dave Taylor dropped to the bench, but he could miss out completely with the extended roster.
Titans lock Ashley Harrison meanwhile was ruled out earlier in the week with a broken toe paving the way for Brisbane’s Corey Parker to get a run in the starting line-up for the first time in the Origin arena.
Players on the extended bench that are sitting in wait include the Cowboys fullback Matty Bowen, Broncos bolter Ben Te’o and Dane Nielsen who made their Origin debut just last year.
Bowen is also in the running with G.I. to score the coveted fullback position should Slater miss the match.
“We’ve got Matt (Bowen) here as well but we are in no hurry (to make a decision),” Meninga said in regards to the issue.
It will also be a milestone game for big Petero Civoniceva who says goodbye to the game at the end of the season.
Queensland are the dominant $1.60 favourites in the latest State of Origin odds at bookmaker.com.au, New South Wales the $2.35 underdogs to stop the mighty Maroons reign.
See below for the full 2012 State of Origin Game 3 Queensland team.
Click on the link for the complete 2012 State of Origin Game 3 New South Wales team.
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2012 State of Origin Game 3 – Queensland Team
Suncorp Stadium – Wednesday July 4, 2012