North Queensland’s Matthew Bowen announced his release from the Queensland rugby league squad via Twitter on Thursday night.
With the Maroons in State of Origin camp at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast, Bowen posted on the social networking site: “What’s there to do in Brissy tonight ??”
Bowen’s exclusion appears to confirm reports star fullback Billy Slater has been scratched from the match with Greg Inglis to move to fullback for the Maroons and Melbourne’s Dane Nielsen to play in the centres.
Slater apparently failed a fitness test in Melbourne on Thursday and subsequently called off his bid to overcome a knee injury and play in Wednesday night’s decider.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga will confirm the scratching on Friday with South Sydney forward Dave Taylor likely to be the third man axed from the 20-strong Maroons squad.
Brisbane utility Ben Te’o is set to make his Origin debut after winning the selection race ahead of Taylor and will start off the bench against the Blues.
Bowen’s exclusion means he can now join his NRL clubmates for the flight to New Zealand on Friday to play the Warriors on Sunday.
The Cowboys already without Origin players Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and Brent Tate, were sweating on the fullback’s release.
Taylor’s exclusion should also mean he’ll be released on Friday to play for the Rabbitohs against Penrith on Sunday.