Billy Slater and his suspect shoulder will have no place to hide on the rugby league battleground of State of Origin, NSW warn.
Prop Aaron Woods on Thursday made no secret of a Blues plan to test out Slater’s troublesome shoulder early in Game II in Melbourne on Wednesday, amid reports that he may have season-ending surgery after the game.
“He is one of their better players, we have to shut him down so obviously we are going to kick to him, we have to present a straight line (in defence) and get stuck into him early,” Woods said.
“You can’t really hide in Origin. It is a physical, quick game, he will get tested out there.
“In Origin you can’t get away with anything.”
Slater hasn’t played since Queensland’s win in the series opener in Sydney last month.
The Blues attempted to target Slater then with limited success, but are set to do so again after revelations the injury hasn’t improved.
Queensland’s back three of Slater, Will Chambers and Darius Boyd were crucial in the Maroons’ 11-10 win in Game I, proving fare more effective at returning kicks than the Blues.
“I thought their back three killed us last game so we have to get up them,” Woods said.
“Our kick chase wasn’t good enough. We went up with a split line, Billy found holes, we have to fix that up.
“Will Chambers burnt us as well, he was running nice and hard … we just can’t let them get easy metres like they did.”