US Jet targets Inglis at World Cup
NOT too many people would rate Michael Garvey alongside Greg Inglis when it comes to the ranks of international rugby league centres.
Yet the American Ipswich Jets FOGS Cup player may be given the chance to prove a few doubters wrong very soon.
The US rugby league team is on the verge of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals, in which they would likely book a date with Australia, which could see Garvey up against Inglis in the centres.
"We came here with the intent to prove people wrong," Ipswich Jets chairman and US team manager Steve Johnson said.
"To get people to believe we could play at this level."
The US have already proved plenty of people wrong getting this far. They are three from three if you include their warm-up match against France.
That was followed by upsets of Cook Islands and Wales to have the Tomahawks on the brink of qualifying for the World Cup quarter-finals. If the Tomahawks win their final pool match against Scotland (Friday morning Australian time), they will top their pool and book a date with Australia in the quarter-final.
If Tonga beat Cook Islands in their pool match this morning (Australian time), the US will have already qualified.
If either happens, we are likely to see Garvey lining up against Inglis, affectionately know as GI.
Just like the USA versus Australia, it would constitute a David versus Goliath type battle.
First of all though, Garvey has to prove his fitness after breaking his hand against France.
"Like a good Ipswich boy, he kept playing and training and didn't tell anyone," Johnson said.
Garvey turned in an impressive performance against the Cook Islands, despite carrying the break, before missing the game against Wales.
"I cannot believe how much he has improved in his two seasons with the Jets," Johnson said.
Garvey's defence, in particular, has been the trademark of his work for the US. It will have to be at its absolute best and then some if he comes up against Inglis and company. But Johnson has faith in the diminutive Yank's prospects.
"He will tackle and tackle and tackle some more," Johnson said.
"When they are challenged, players lift emotionally and anything's possible."