Recovering fullback Billy Slater has reportedly been cleared to play for Queensland in next week’s State of Origin series opener in Sydney.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga had initially given Slater as late as Saturday to prove his fitness after nursing a shoulder complaint at their Gold Coast camp.
But Meninga has reportedly given the green light to Slater but is still sweating on star centres Justin Hodges (foot) and Greg Inglis (virus).
The pair are expected to miss a contact training session at 1700 on Friday as a precaution.
Slater will take part in the session as he ramps up his game one preparation despite managing a shoulder complaint that will require post-season surgery.
“Billy will play, definitely,” Meninga told News Corp.
“I’ve had a good chat with Billy and he will be all right.
“He will train with us tonight and we’ll manage his shoulder through the week.
“To be honest, Billy has to manage it, he requires surgery at the end of the year but he’s a tough competitor and he knows what to do.”
Inglis has been quarantined from the team as he recovers from what is believed to be tonsillitis while Hodges is nursing a “few stitches” after cutting his foot in an off-field but as yet unexplained incident.
Newcastle’s Dane Gagai has been called into the squad as back-up but in an encouraging sign for his star centres Meninga looks set to release him for the Knights’ NRL clash with the Broncos on Monday night.
The Maroons’ preparation has already been disrupted with the withdrawal of bench utility Daly Cherry-Evans, replaced by Michael Morgan.