Oates injury fears allayed by Bennett

Injury fears for Queensland’s Corey Oates have been allayed by Wayne Bennett.

But Maroons teammate Josh McGuire faces a nervous wait after being reported for a dangerous throw in Brisbane’s 48-6 NRL loss to Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Oates was forced from the field in the first half with concussion after being injured in a tackle trying to stop the eight try rout.

The incumbent Maroons winger took no further part in the game in a concern for Queensland selectors who name their State of Origin III team on Monday.

But Bennett gave Oates the all clear for the Maroons.

“He’ll be fine in the 12 days when they play again,” he said.

McGuire’s Origin III prospects are not so certain after being reported for his lifting tackle on Dale Finucane.

It added further insult after Brisbane suffered a record home loss and sixth defeat in their last eight games.

Former ladder leaders Brisbane could slide as low as seventh by the end of the round.

Bennett claimed he could see improvement in the most unlikely of areas – Brisbane’s defence.

They have conceded 88 points in their last two games.

Melbourne led 30-6 at halftime after notching five tries in 18 minutes.

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu nabbed a hat-trick to seal Melbourne’s 10th win in 11 games against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium and claim the ladder’s top spot.

However, Bennett said he was happier than after last round’s 40-14 loss to Canterbury.

“I don’t believe it was un-Bronco like,” he said of their effort.

“I don’t like the scoreboard but I thought we were better defensively than we were last week.

“We left Canterbury a lot less confident than we will (against Melbourne).

“Five of their tries came off kicks. There were no huge defensive errors.”

Halfback Cooper Cronk set up five tries as Melbourne exploited Oates’ injury to carve up Brisbane’s left edge.

“There was not much we could do to stop it,” Bennett said.

Bennett dipped his hat to bench utility Kodi Nikorima who dislocated his shoulder early but remained on the field to fill holes in their reshuffled backline as the Storm launched raid after raid.

“I don’t know what would have happened if he had not stayed on the field for us,” Bennett said.

Brisbane are already without Jordan Kahu, Jack Reed, Greg Eden and Tom Opacic.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy backed Brisbane to return to their best.

“Sometimes it just ain’t your night,” he said.

“They have too many good players and too good a culture at the club not to come back from this.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!