Slater named new skipper of the Maroons
AHEAD of his final State of Origin, Billy Slater is set to be handed the Queensland captaincy for the first time.
The Maroons are expected to confirm on Monday the veteran fullback will replace injured centre Greg Inglis (broken thumb) as skipper in July 11's dead rubber in Brisbane.
It is a fitting honour for Maroons great Slater who will bow out from representative football after his 31st Origin.
But it remains to be seen whether an injury-hit Queensland can provide a fitting farewell for the 35-year-old.
Queensland's scheduled Sunday night game three team announcement was delayed until Monday after Inglis went down late in South Sydney's 21-20 NRL win over North Queensland.
He was sent to hospital for scans and soon ruled out of Origin III after being told he could be sidelined for four to six weeks.
The bombshell came just hours after boom Maroons rookie Kalyn Ponga (hamstring) was ruled out of game three.
And Sydney Roosters prop Dylan Napa (knee) may also be an Origin III scratching.
QRL officials were left scrambling trying to find a replacement centre on Sunday night, forcing them to abandon their scheduled 7pm Sunday night team reveal via their website.
"The scheduled naming of the Queensland State of Origin team for Game III of this year's series has been delayed following a late injury to captain and centre Greg Inglis," a QRL statement said.
"Due to this unforeseen circumstance, naming of the team could be delayed possibly as late as the morning of Monday, July 2.
"QRL Media apologises to fans on the delay, but will keep you updated as soon as the final team is confirmed."
The Maroons may push winger Dane Gagai into the centres with Will Chambers, and recall Brisbane winger Corey Oates for game three.
Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans is reportedly set to replace Ben Hunt at halfback, ending three years in the Origin wilderness.
Hunt is still in the Maroons mix as bench utility, replacing the injured Ponga.
The loss of 32-Origin veteran Inglis is another blow to the battling Maroons as they try to send out Slater in style.
They are trying to avoid only the fourth NSW series whitewash in Origin history and first since 2000.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters faces his third-straight match plagued by injury dramas in a nightmare start to life without retired Maroons greats Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.