O'Neill receives call up after Slater ruled out of All Stars

JUSTIN O'Neill looks to pass the ball during training when at the Melbourne Storm.
JUSTIN O'Neill looks to pass the ball during training when at the Melbourne Storm. Michael Dodge / Getty Images

ANKLE and shoulder injuries have forced Melbourne Storm full-back Billy Slater out of next month's Rugby League All Stars match at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

All Stars coach Wayne Bennett has called up Slater's Storm teammate Justin O'Neill to fill the gap.

"It's disappointing Billy won't be able to play, but I'm excited and honoured to be part of the All Stars team and looking forward to playing with and against some of the best players in the competition," O'Neill said.

"I have family living in Brisbane so it will be very special to play my first representative game in front of them."

Slater had been named at full-back in the team, but Bennett will have the option of elevating Eels playmaker Jarryd Hayne from the bench. or switching Josh Morris from the wing.

Slater has been hampered by the injuries since returning to pre-season training earlier this month, and has been on a modified program with the goal of being fit for the World Club Challenge against the Leeds Rhinos in England on Friday, February 22.
 

Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater in a round 24 game against the Brisbane Broncos in August, 2012.
Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater in a round 24 game against the Brisbane Broncos in August, 2012. Charles Knight / SMP Images

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