Queensland do not regret banning potential replacement Cameron Munster despite mystery surrounding Maroons fullback Billy Slater’s State of Origin future.
Selectors boss Des Morris says the Queensland camp is still comfortable with Munster copping a 12-month Origin ban from new coach Kevin Walters for breaking an Emerging Maroons camp curfew this year.
Queensland’s fullback depth may be tested this year after veteran Slater was sidelined indefinitely by NRL club Melbourne and booked for exploratory shoulder surgery this week.
The 32-year-old’s NRL comeback stalled after just one game.
He pulled out of Melbourne’s NRL win over Gold Coast on Sunday after feeling soreness in the shoulder that kept him out of the game for nine months last year.
Like last year, Munster again impressed when he stepped up in Slater’s absence to help inspire the Storm’s 34-16 victory.
However, Munster can’t be considered by Queensland this year after he was among eight players suspended from 2016 Origin duty for their Emerging Maroons camp misbehaviour.
“Everyone is comfortable with the call,” Morris told AAP.
“Kevvie had the rules in place.
“It will just emphasise more on the players that they need to respect the rules.
“They have to learn from that.”
Morris said South Sydney’s Greg Inglis and Brisbane No.1 Darius Boyd were obvious fullback candidates.
However, he had not given up on Slater running out in Maroon this year.
The Origin series starts on June 1 in Sydney.
“We’ve got a couple of options, to say the least,” Morris said.
“But there is still plenty of time.
“We are not concerned.
“Kevvie has already guaranteed him (Slater) the job unless he has trouble getting back on the field.”
Inglis filled the Maroons fullback role admirably after Slater succumbed to the shoulder injury last June.
Inglis ran amok as Queensland sealed their ninth series win in 10 years with a record Origin III 52-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
Boyd welcomed the prospect of wearing the Maroons No.1 jersey but believed Inglis had the inside running if Slater was unfit.
“Greg has got that sewn up. But if given the chance I wouldn’t say no,” Boyd said.
“It’s not good, the news about Billy.
“But he is the ultimate professional.
“I am sure he will be back in plenty of time for Origin.”
Boyd hoped the likes of Munster came back better players – and people – after their Origin bans.
“We are all young once and everyone makes mistakes,” he said.
“As long as they learn from it, it’s all you can do.
“Munster is a quality player and I am sure we will need him in the future.”