Slater’s knee fine for Origin opener

May 27, 2014 12:28:24 UK

Queensland star Billy Slater admits his knee is an ongoing concern, but says he is fully fit for Wednesday’s State of Origin opener.

The Maroons fullback needed off-season surgery after aggravating a left knee injury during the World Cup.

He has been tight-lipped about the extent of the problem over the past year, but acknowledged as he prepared for Game I in Brisbane that the issue will continue to affect him.

Slater has been a vital part of the Maroons squad over the past five years as they extended their winning streak over NSW to eight series.

He has scored 11 tries in his 22 Origin games, though his knee problems go back to 2012 when he was forced to miss the deciding game of the series.

The 30-year-old’s knee has been strapped for training sessions with Queensland, but he is adamant the injury is not career-threatening, and that it won’t affect him at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

“The cartilage is my main problem,” he said. “It’s not quite bone-on-bone, but I’ve got a hole in my cartilage which is down to the bone, so that’s what gives me the inflammation and pain when I do over-train.

“That’s where the monitoring comes in. It’s a fine line ¬because I have to keep that fitness level up. The (Maroons) medical staff are really understanding and know I have to be in the best shape I can on Wednesday night.”

Slater said he had taken a hit on his knee at the World Cup that re-tore the scar tissue as well as some cartilage.

He added: “Everyone in this game has niggling injuries that must be managed. But my knee is in a good spot at the moment and when I get out on the field it’s not in my mind at all — that’s the good thing.”

Queensland are 1.44 to beat NSW in Game I, with the Blues 2.80.

NSW are 1.93 with a 6.5-points start.

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