Origin fears allayed for Oates, McGuire

Origin fears allayed for Oates, McGuire

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

And Maroons teammate Josh McGuire is clear to play July 13’s State of Origin III clash despite being charged with a grade-one dangerous throw in Brisbane’s 48-6 NRL loss to Melbourne on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane prop McGuire faced an anxious wait after being placed on report late in the Broncos’ worst home loss for a lifting tackle on the Storm’s Dale Finucane.

However, an early guilty plea will result in no ban for McGuire, meaning he’ll be available for Origin III in Sydney where Queensland will hope to complete a fifth whitewash.

There was also good news for Oates who 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.

But Bennett gave Oates the all-clear for the Maroons.

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

Brisbane suffered their sixth loss in eight games, conceding 88 points in their past two matches.

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

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.

“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.”

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.

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.”

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