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World Cup D-Day arrives for Aussie Billy Slater

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 07:08 27/11/2013
Billy Slater
ALEX LIVESEY/ Getty
AT RISK: Billy Slater's World Cup final fate will be determined when he returns to full training overnight.

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Billy Slater's World Cup final fate will be determined when he returns to full training with his Kangaroos teammates on Wednesday.

Slater sat out Tuesday's training session in Manchester as he continued recovery work on the injured left knee that is threatening to keep him out of Saturday's final against New Zealand at Old Trafford.

The Melbourne Storm star sat in the stands icing his knee but Kangaroos medical staff have given him the all-clear to return to training on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEDT).

How the 30-year-old pulls up from the session will determine whether or not he is included in Australia's 19-man match squad but it's understood there is a growing confidence Slater will be able to play.

Should Slater make his return from the injury suffered in the quarter-final win over the United States a fortnight ago, Greg Inglis will shift back into the centres.

That would likely force Brent Tate out of the starting side, but the veteran centre is being considered for a spot on the interchange bench.

Both Slater and Tate are desperate to figure in the final as they form part of a group of senior players which may not get another crack at a World Cup title.

Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Paul Gallen are other Kangaroos aged over 30 and desperate to claim the title after the shock defeat to the Kiwis in 2008.

"Personally, it's motivating that I probably won't play in another World Cup," Gallen told AAP.

"I've played in a lot of big games of footy and to win a World Cup would be huge.

"It's a good opportunity to do it on Saturday. We've got a good side here and we get along really well.

"We've had a great few weeks over here but anything less than a win is probably not going to be a really successful tour."

Both Australia and New Zealand are required to finalise their 19-man squads on Thursday.

The Kiwis have their own injury concerns with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (leg), Manu Vatuvei (groin) and Frank Pritchard (hamstring) all in doubt.

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- AAP

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