Slater ruled out of Origin decider
Billy Slater's brave bid to play for Queensland in Wednesday night's State of Origin decider has failed.
And the Maroons have also sent Matt Bowen and Dave Taylor back to their clubs for their Round 17 matches this weekend. That means Greg Inglis will switch to number one in place of Slater while Dane Nielsen will play in the centres alongside Justin Hodges and Ben Te'o will make his Origin debut in Taylor's place.
Slater, who suffered a serious knee injury a fortnight ago, officially announced his withdrawal on Twitter after failing a fitness test on Thursday.
"I've decided to pull out of SOO 3 today. V tough decision, but one that is best for the team. My knee just wouldn't of (sic) quite been right," Slater tweeted.
The Maroons confirmed the changes on Friday, with Te'o to be used as an impact forward off the bench. Bowen's exclusion means he can now join his NRL team-mates for the flight to New Zealand on Friday to play the Warriors on Sunday.
Both Bowen and Taylor are expected to return to the Queensland camp after completing their club duties though, the pair to provide cover ahead of the decider.
According to Slater, he did everything possible to recover in time from the injury he suffered as the Maroons narrowly went down to the Blues in Game 2.
"This was without a doubt one of the toughest and most frustrating decisions I have ever had to make," Slater told the Melbourne Storm website.
"It just didn't feel right when I ran and I knew it wasn't going to be right, so I decided to do the right thing for my team-mates and my own personal welfare by making myself unavailable.
"We didn't leave any stone unturned in trying to play and I'm comfortable we did everything we possibly could to get it right, but we were always racing the clock and there just wasn't enough time before Origin 3."