Queensland coach Mal Meninga is cautiously optimistic that winger Darius Boyd will be fit to face the NSW Blues in Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener.
The 25-year-old Australian international has been a major doubt for the Maroons since seriously injuring his ankle for Newcastle against the Warriors in an NRL match last Sunday.
However, the former Brisbane Bronco came through a tough training session earlier today, and whilst he’s still not a certainty to feature, the team are ‘quietly confident’ Boyd will make it in time.
"He was better than we anticipated. He had a bit of a run today (Thursday) and will do more tomorrow. He's still not out of the woods yet but we're quietly confident he will be ok," said Meninga, according to ABC news.
If Boyd doesn’t make it, then Justin O’Neill will step-in for the 14-cap Queenslander alongside record State of Origin try-scorer Greg Inglis.
"We're prepared to wait and see how he is, we don't go to Sydney until Sunday. Justin (O'Neill) is still a chance (to play),” he concluded.
"We'll treat it as Justin's playing; we'll treat it as Darius is playing. We'll make those decisions later on."
Inglis certainly has no issue with playing alongside O’Neill if Boyd doesn’t make it, and is confident the 22-year-old Melbourne Storm star will be able to impress on the big stage.
"Justin's a great quality player who deserves his spot if Darius is out," added Inglis.
Ben Te’o is also in contention to start for Queensland, despite the on-going assault saga which threatens to derail Queensland’s preparation for the opening match at the Olympic Stadium.