Catch 22 for Qld selectors
EVERTHING is bigger in Queensland.
That includes the squad to join the Maroons camp this afternoon to prepare for the State of Origin decider to be played at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday.
New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart named an extended squad of 19 on Sunday, with Glenn Stewart an extremely unlikely starter due to a knee injury.
And as many as 22 players could book in at the Maroons' Sunshine Coast camp today with injury concerns over several players.
One person already ruled out is workaholic lock Ashley Harrison who suffered multiple fractures to his right toe in Friday night's game against the Dragons.
Harrison, ruled out yesterday for up to a month, said he was "really disappointed" to miss out on the Origin decider.
"It wouldn't be fair on myself and the team. I wouldn't have been able to prepare the way I should for such an important game," the 14-game Origin veteran said.
After recovering from a nasty shin gash that cut short his Origin I, Corey Parker will move to lock with Broncos back-rower Ben Te'o expected to be called onto the bench.
Star full-back Billy Slater is expected to be named after being able to run yesterday, although his knee was heavily strapped.
Slater will stay in Melbourne for treatment on the knee he injured in Origin II, and like Stewart, would need to train by Friday to be considered.
If Slater doesn't come up, the preferred option for Queensland coach Mal Meninga is understood to be to move Greg Inglis to fullback and bring in Storm centre Dane Neilsen who replaced Inglis when he was injured for Origin I last year.
Interestingly, Neilsen stayed in Mackay after the Storm's game there on Sunday while his teammates returned to Melbourne.
Another option is to leave Inglis at centre and bring in Bulldogs excitement machine Ben Barba who was in blistering form in front of Queensland selector Des Morris against the Storm in Mackay, or Cowboys full-back Matt Bowen.
It's possible both will be at Coolum in the lead-up to the big game with Queensland expected to bring in everyone who has been involved in the 2012 campaign.
The other injury concerns for the Maroons are centre Justin Hodges (ribs), second-rower Sam Thaiday (shoulder) and prop Ben Hannant (quad).
One person who won't join his teammates in the camp is front-rower Matt Scott who will attend his mother's funeral tomorrow.
The Queensland player under most pressure to retain his spot is Dave Taylor who has had little impact in the series.
His ball handling at crucial times in game II also let him down.