Slater declares himself right for Origin II
QUEENSLAND fullback Billy Slater is ready to save the Origin series in his 30th match for the Maroons, while prop Dylan Napa took a significant step towards taking his place in the crucial clash with NSW on Sunday.
The duo faced their D-Day on Wednesday as they tried to prove to Maroons coaching and medical staff that they would be fit for Game Two, in what was a successful training session for the under-siege side.
The most heart-warming image for Queensland fans was Slater in full-flight, appearing to not be hampered by his ongoing hamstring injury.
And the Melbourne star confirmed he was confident he would be able to see out the rest of the week to play in the must-win match on Sunday.
The Maroons missed Slater's presence in game one and it was clear on Wednesday that the vocal No.1 will bring plenty of composure to the side.
Slater said he did not feel any pressure to deliver, but knew it was do-or-die in what will be his 30th Origin match.
"I'm confident in what I can bring to a team," he said.
"I won't be bringing anything that I haven't brought in the past. It's my natural role to communicate and talk and set up plays.
"(Origin I) was difficult watching for all Queenslanders and I'm no different. We've got a challenge in front of us.
"We have to go down to Sydney, it's not going to be easy. They're a good team and they're going to be a lot better for the experience of Game One."
Slater, who turned 35 on Monday, admitted it was not ideal that he has not played since mid-May. But he said he knew how to prepare for an such an important match.
"I understand what it takes to play a game, and an Origin for that matter," he said.
"I'm pretty confident that I will be right.
"I'm training at 100 per cent now. I'm doing everything I can to train well and I struggle training anything under that anyway. It's just the way that I am. I won't be going out there holding back."
Slater did take a few breaks from the training session on Wednesday, with bench utility Kalyn Ponga running at fullback while he rested.
The young Newcastle sensation also trained in the middle and Slater said that is where he expects Ponga to play on Sunday, similar to how Cooper Cronk, Michael Morgan and Daly Cherry-Evans have taken on the role in the past.
Napa, meanwhile, trained strongly as he tried to prove his fitness after struggling with an ankle injury.
He completed the majority of the session, only finishing five minutes early to ice his left foot, but it was understood Queensland were happy with how he went.
Maroons officials will wait to see how Napa feels on Thursday morning ahead of another contested training session with the Queensland Residents before making the final call on his availability.