Queensland star Billy Slater has been forced to pull out of Wednesday’s State of Origin clash with a hamstring injury.
The Maroons face New South Wales Blues at the MCG on Wednesday, 1ppm kick-off (UK time), but Slater will play no part in the game.
Slater said he was gutted to be missing the first game of Origin.
He said: “I just didn’t pull up as well as I wanted to after training.
“I’ve never had a hamstring injury before so I don’t have anything to measure it off, so I went off the recommendation of the physio and doctor about what was best not only for myself, but the team as well.
“You don’t want to miss out on any Origin but I’ve made the mistake of playing injured in the past and I regret that. I wanted to make the right decision this time.”
Anthony Milford and Kalyn Ponga have travelled to Melbourne as cover for Slater and have the option of switching Michael Morgan to full-back, with either Milford or Ponga on the bench.