Billy Slater’s World Cup campaign went from bad to worse as it was announced he is highly unlikely to feature again due to the recurrence of a knee injury.
The Kangaroos full-back, who was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning after being involved in a Manchester-nightclub scuffle before being released without charge, sustained the knock after collecting a high ball in Australia’s 62-0 thrashing of the Tomahawks on Saturday.
Although a scan proved inconclusive due to swelling, it is understood to be the same left-knee posterior cruciate ligament problem that saw him spend six weeks on the sidelines in 2012.
Treatment is set to continue in the coming days but it seems increasingly likely he will not be fit before November 30 – the date of the World Cup final.
The 30-year-old clinged to hope after the match: “Hopefully I’m in with a chance of playing again,” said Slater.
“I’m pretty sure if the scans come back bad it’ll be the tournament over for me.”
The Kangaroos have plenty of options if Slater is indeed ruled out. Centres Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne scored six tries between them against the USA and are both more than capable of filling in at sweeper.
By JOE WHITLEY