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Tate sweats on Slater's RLWC fitness

Aside from Billy Slater himself, nobody will be sweating on the Kangaroos fullback's World Cup final availability more than veteran centre Brent Tate.
Tate sweats on Slater's RLWC fitness
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

MANCHESTER, England, Nov 25 AAP - Aside from Billy Slater himself, nobody will be sweating on the Kangaroos fullback's World Cup final availability more than veteran centre Brent Tate.

While Tate is hoping his Queensland State of Origin teammate recovers from a knee injury in time to face New Zealand on Saturday, the North Queensland player stands to benefit should Slater be ruled out.

Tate earned a recall to the Australian side for Saturday's 64-0 semi-final win over Fiji but Slater's return would likely see him dropped from the starting team, with Greg Inglis moving back into the centres.

That wouldn't necessarily mean the end of Tate's World Cup final dream, however, with Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens considering using the 31-year-old off the bench at Old Trafford.

Tate faces several days of uncertainty with Slater's fitness to be determined later in the week but he's desperate to be a part of the final 17 having cruelly missed out on the 2008 final, which Australia lost to the Kiwis, due to injury.

"He (Slater) was one of a couple of us that was there in 2008 so I know he'd be desperate to play. We're all desperate to play," Tate told AAP.

"If he is right, hopefully there might be a spot somewhere there for me, I don't know.

"The earlier I know probably the better it'd be but at the end of the day, you've just got to wait and see what happens.

"As I've said to Tim all along, I don't care where I'm playing as long as I'm there because I won't be back here again."

Tate admits he still feels the pain of missing out on the 2008 decider in Brisbane.

He played in every match of that campaign until suffering a torn hip flexor muscle in the semi-final against Fiji.

"It's still really fresh in my mind," Tate said.

"It is a long time ago and a lot of water's gone under the bridge but when you do look back at it, it's still a big disappointment.

"Whether it drives me now I don't know but it'd be nice to be a part of it again, that's for sure."

Tate spent some time in the second row against Fiji at Wembley and feels he would comfortably handle a role of the bench if required.

He said getting to play in a winning World Cup side would cap a lengthy of list of career achievements which includes an NRL premiership win with Brisbane and years of glory with the Maroons.

"But I've also learned along the way that things don't always pan out the way you've planned and that's a part of life," Tate said.

"You've just got to roll with the punches sometimes and if that's the way it is, well I'll be bitterly disappointed but there's not much you can do about it."




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