With so much riding on the result next week, it is little wonder some players - most notably Billy Slater (cemtre) - are seemingly prepared to risk the remainder of the season to be there.
With so much riding on the result next week, it is little wonder some players - most notably Billy Slater (cemtre) - are seemingly prepared to risk the remainder of the season to be there. Matt Roberts

Ready to take risk for Origin

ONE with even a smidgen of interest in rugby league understands the importance of the Origin decider next week.

One former Origin star told me last week it was probably one of the most momentous games in the history of the series.

I disagree with that assessment. Game one back in 1980 was the most important. If that was a disaster and Queensland was flogged, the code's jewel in the crown may never have been given a second chance.

But yes, Origin III is a biggie. So long the poor relation of rugby league, Queensland has a chance to take its seventh successive title, a record akin to what NSW did to the Maroons back in the dark old days of interstate rivalry.

Conversely, the Blues need a resurrection. And while they are facing the humiliation of seven straight series defeats, they have not been that far away from a win.

But winners do tend to grin, and Queensland fans are revelling in their team's dominance.

Almost certainly - if the Blues lose again - Ricky Stuart will resign as coach, which would be a shame. Love him or loathe him, as Blues coach Stuart has added another dimension to Origin footy.

So with so much riding on the result next week, it is little wonder some players - most notably Billy Slater - are seemingly prepared to risk the remainder of the season to be there.

There are others too, like Greg Inglis, Corey Parker, Justin Hodges, Ash Harrison, Sam Thaiday, Glenn Stewart and Tony Williams.

On Friday I spoke with two Storm officials who said Slater was no hope of playing Origin III, and respected orthopaedic surgeon Peter Myers says the Storm fullback risks further injury if he plays.

Yet he will be named by Queensland selectors tomorrow and given every chance to prove his fitness.

Anyone who closely watched Greg Inglis at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night could tell his dicky elbow was far from right.

But he too will be selected.

Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker - courageously maybe - played against the Rabbitohs on Friday obviously because it was a crunch game for the Broncos, but also to prove their fitness for Origin.

Ben Hannant, conversely, sat out the game and made sure he would be right for the Maroons after a 10-day lay-off.

But it's not just the Queenslanders who - seemingly - are putting state before club.

Injury - in Origin I - and suspension had limited Tony Williams to just three games for Manly this season before his surprise return yesterday, yet he has been named to play Origin III.

And Glenn Stewart, hobbling with his knee in a brace a week ago, is also being given the chance to play. Or, is it the chance for them all to break down? Again?



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