The injuries keep stacking up for Queensland but coach Mal Meninga appears unfazed ahead of a must-win State of Origin III in Brisbane.
Canberra enforcer Josh Papalii was the latest concern when he failed to arrive for the Maroons’ fan day visit to Proserpine near Mackay in north Queensland on Tuesday.
Meninga said Papalii is nursing a knee niggle but was confident he would fill his role as the man to shut down NSW bench firebrand David Klemmer in July 8’s series decider.
The Maroons mentor was also forced to play down concerns for injured duo Matt Scott and Darius Boyd after they also failed to travel.
Prop Scott (neck) and winger Boyd (groin) were also conspicuous by their absence when the Maroons were swamped by locals during a street parade as part of their visit to the battling cane farming community.
However, Meninga said all three were certainties to play crunch game three.
The trio must run out for Maroons training by Thursday to be considered.
Cowboys hit man Scott will join the team’s Gold Coast camp on Wednesday after receiving treatment for a neck complaint in his hometown Townsville.
Boyd missed the fan day in order to receive treatment for an adductor strain in his groin suffered in Brisbane’s 44-22 NRL win over Newcastle on Friday night.
“He (Scott) is fine. We kept him north because we don’t want him travelling,” Meninga said.
“He’s had a cortisone injection, that’s a 48 hour job.
“The longer we keep him there relaxed and not travelling the better the treatment.”
On Boyd, Meninga said: “He is receiving treatment.
“He pulled up with a strain but he’s sweet, for us it is precautionary.”
The only other players not attending the fan day were Melbourne’s Cameron Smith and Will Chambers who played on Monday night and recovering Storm halfback Cooper Cronk (knee).
Meanwhile, Meninga said he wasn’t surprised NSW named an unchanged 17 for game three.
But he did not expect hooker Robbie Farah to overcome a hand fracture.
The Blues named Farah despite suffering the injury in Wests Tigers’ loss to Penrith on Sunday.
“They are unchanged to us and that is no surprise,” he said.
“They are playing good footy at the moment so why would you change?”
Asked if he thought Farah would play, Meninga said: “Probably not, no.”
He did not seem concerned that NSW were exploring a loophole in the Origin eligibility rules that would enable Michael Ennis to replace Farah and play even if he was suspended for one game for a high tackle at Wednesday night’s NRL judiciary.
“The rules are there so let’s go with the flow, whatever decision is made we will move forward,” he said.
More than 6,000 people flooded Proserpine’s main street for the team’s street parade on Tuesday, the biggest turnout yet for a community fan day according to QRL boss Peter Betros.