Hunt opens up on Origin availability post-injury

Matt Encarnacion
Hunt opens up on Origin availability post-injury

Queensland hopeful Ben Hunt is confident he will be available to play in the State of Origin series opener if selected despite failing to finish St George Illawarra's defeat to Penrith.

Hunt, who is widely tipped to be named Maroons' halfback for game one, appeared hampered for most of the contest against the Panthers on Saturday before hobbling off with a cork in the 46th minute.

The Hunt issue continued a horror day for Maroons coach Kevin Walters, who could be without veteran prop Matt Scott after the North Queensland co-captain was cited for a shoulder charge.

Scott will need to contest his grade one shoulder charge on Young Tonumaipea to make himself available for the June 6 opener in Melbourne.

Hunt allayed fears of any serious injury after the loss to the Panthers.

Hunt's injury woes

"It's not too bad, it's got a pretty bad cork in there. I tried to free it up a bit at halftime but I just couldn't get it going," Hunt said on Fox Sports post-game.

"If I am picked (for Queensland) I think I'll be pretty right (to play). It's 10 or so days from now and it's only a cork so hopefully I get it right."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said he wasn't prepared to risk further injury to his star playmaker.

"If you film him and watched him, you wouldn't leave him out there. It's got to be the welfare of the player too in the situation, not only just winning a game of football," he said.

"He was limping around and wouldn't have been as effective as he needed to be, and putting that pressure on himself and the team wasn't what a coach should do to a player."

Hunt was one of three Dragons to cop knocks in the loss to the Panthers, with forwards Tariq Sims and Jack de Belin also picking up injuries.

De Belin retired from the match in the 70th minute after aggravating a hip flexor injury that has required a painkilling injection for the past three weeks.

McGregor insists all his players would be available for Origin selection.

"Hunt got a bump in the leg and Tariq got a bump in the leg. They were affected but won't be in any doubt for selection or when we play next," McGregor said.

"Jack de Belin reinjured an injury that he's already got but I'd say he'd be OK too."