When Greg Inglis talks, Queensland teammates listen – and then pencil in a big one for the barnstorming centre.
After a quiet State of Origin I, Inglis has been making all the right noises in the lead-up to Wednesday night’s game two MCG clash according to skipper Cameron Smith.
In an ominous warning for NSW, Smith said all the signs were good for Inglis to make light of expected wet conditions and ignite what he initially feared would be a dour game two.
“He has been very vocal at training and, when you have Greg Inglis talking, that means he is prepared for a big one. Let’s hope he does that,” Smith said.
Inglis’s words after game one have also resonated with Smith.
Inglis was hard on himself following Queensland’s 11-10 Origin I win despite finding a way to play after spending three nights in hospital in the lead-up battling tonsillitis.
It limited him to just one training session before Origin I.
“I remember him mentioning in the sheds after the game (that) one day’s preparation for a State of Origin was pretty hard work,” Smith said.
“I think he believed he underperformed.
“He was probably just a bit down on his usual involvement.
“The impact on the game he was a little bit disappointed with.
“But he still played well and helped our footy side get a good result.”
Inglis still managed to amass 21 tackles and 121m with just two missed tackles despite being clearly drained by his lack of preparation.
“He was a bit disappointed with his first game but as far as his numbers go his output for the footy team was great,” Smith said.
Smith backed Inglis to be their X-factor along with fellow centre Justin Hodges despite initially fearing an Origin II hard slog at a saturated MCG.
Melbourne-based Smith is the Maroons’ best guide on the AFL’s hallowed ground ahead of Wednesday night, with most teammates visiting the MCG for the first time at their captain’s run on Tuesday.
Smith said the make-up of NSW’s team indicated they would not be playing an expansive game at a wet MCG, making the likes of Inglis all the more dangerous.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga has already indicated that Inglis will spend time on the wing in Origin II in a bid to enjoy more ball.
“Usually when it is wet and greasy you tend to tuck the ball under the arm a bit (but) from our point of view if given the opportunity we will give our boys out wide some early ball – guys like Greg and Justin,” Smith said.
“Given the set-up of their (NSW) team with a big pack and four forwards on the bench it’s not telling us they are going to be too expansive. We will wait and see.”