Slater rated an Origin III chance
Sat, 23 Jun 2012 4:06a.m.
South Sydney forward Michael Crocker has given Queensland fans a lift by suggesting champion Melbourne fullback Billy Slater could yet play in Wednesday week's State of Origin series decider.
While they play for rival clubs, the pair keep in regular contact.
Slater is racing the fitness clock after suffering a posterior cruciate ligament injury in the second Origin game in Sydney.
The initial diagnosis was four to six weeks on the sidelines, leaving Queensland selectors and coach Mal Meninga to find a replacement fullback.
But Crocker said he'd spoken to Slater a few days ago and he was still hopeful of playing.
"Billy's always positive. I haven't spoken to him in the last couple of days but I know he'd love to be back there," says Crocker after Souths' 26-12 NRL loss to Brisbane.
"It's a matter of getting his recovery right and his rehab right. If he can put some weight on it (knee) in the next couple of days and get some running into it, he said he might be right.
"We'll have to wait and see, I don't think he'd go into the game underdone."
Meninga was in the Broncos' dressing room after Friday night's game but declined to comment on the performances of his players.
Crocker, who played 13 Origins for Queensland, said Maroons selectors had plenty of options if Slater was ruled out including Greg Inglis, Matt Bowen and Ben Barba.
Souths coach Michael Maguire talked up Dave Taylor's Origin selection chances after the big forward had 14 carries for 127 metres and racked up 37 tackles.
Taylor went into the clash under more scrutiny than any of the six Origin players on show at Suncorp Stadium.
"He did a good job for us," says Maguire.
"Obviously he'd be disappointed with one or two carries but at the end of the day Dave can carry the ball very strongly and I hope he gets in there on Wednesday (week).
Brisbane centre Justin Hodges aggravated an old rib injury but coach Anthony Griffin said it shouldn't impede his Origin prospects.
Corey Parker produced a massive comeback from a badly gashed leg from Origin II.
He made more metres than any forward and finished with a game-high 54 tackles to make it almost impossible for Queensland selectors not to retain him.
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