The goal: back-to-back premierships
Has there ever been a better player in the cardinal and myrtle than Greg Inglis? It’s the question that comes to mind after Inglis’ majestic performance in the Souths’ 52-6 victory over Newcastle.
It’s not that he has no competition for the mantle of Souths’ greatest. Many will claim that it’s the Little Master Clive Churchill or big Bobby McCarthy or Ronny Coote. (Others, like a slightly deluded mate of mine, insist that it was Charlie Frith – but that’s another story).
Watching Inglis play in July it is hard to believe that any of them could surpass GI. The Origin season over, Inglis has thrown off his dinner suit and having ensured Queensland supremacy for another year, has turned his attention to his next big goal – back-to-back premierships.
His display against the Knights bordered on arrogance as at times he wound back the clock to his youth and scratch games on the streets of Bowraville (that’s in Queensland!) often inviting the hapless Knights’ defence to come and tackle him only to find themselves grasping at thin air. His hat-trick of tries in the first half showed off his unique blend of grace and power as well as an Inspector Gadget capability as he sliced through the Knights’ defence and extended his long arm to plant down his third try.
Inglis’ form appears to have rubbed off on the team, particularly the right side duo, Dylan Walker and Alex Johnston. The pair know each other’s games back to front, having played together at junior level since the age of 14, and coach Maguire’s decision to reunite the pair has reinvigorated both and given Souths a potent and enviable right-side attack. On the other side of the field, the Sutton, Inglis and Keary combination is also clicking with their skilful short passing game exploiting gaps and overlaps with relative ease.
Up the middle, Tim Grant has been increasingly committed and aggressive, the Burgess boys are making good yards and Chris McQueen is appearing to enjoy his more involved role at lock. Isaac Luke appears back to his best as well, after a quiet year by his standards, as he tormented the Knights with his explosive scoop and run surges from dummy half.
A slightly paler but nonetheless effective version of Souths was on display the week before with Reynolds outstanding as Souths nudged St George-Illawarra out of the eight for the first time in the year (Souths 24 – St George-Illawarra 8). The previous week, Souths minus Inglis on Origin duties was humbled by the Panthers (20-6).
As the season enters its final rounds, August will have a huge sway on Souths’ season with their credentials tested by all the major contenders including North Queensland, Brisbane and Easts in the lead-up to the September finals. It might also have a big bearing on Inglis’ career and put to test any claims he has to greatness among the Greats.