Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga.
Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga.

Wiping the Slater leaves job open

GREG Inglis may well be submitting an application for a new job tonight, but even if he is the best candidate he is no certainty to win the posting.

Inglis, statistically the best performed fullback in the NRL in 2012, will be out to impress yet again when he assumes his custodian role for the Rabbitohs against the Eels at ANZ Stadium where 84,000 watched the Blues square the Origin series on Wednesday night.

With Billy Slater all but ruled out of the Origin decider after news his posterior cruciate ligament injury is likely to sideline him for up to six weeks, Inglis has become the street corner favourite to wear the No 1 jersey for the Maroons in game three.

But not according to coach Mal Meninga.

"I'm not sure we will want to weaken one position to strengthen another," said the Queensland coach whose team is on the cusp of winning seven successive Origin series.

"Greg has been great for us on the left side for a number of years now and a very strong combination has been formed there. He is very potent for us.

"We have a number of options, and switching Greg to fullback is obviously one of these. But there is also Matty Bowen, who has played for Queensland before, and Ben Barba, who just spent the last 10 days in camp with us.

"There are two more NRL games before we select the team for game three so form will be our guide."

Ironically, Inglis will oppose another brilliant fullback tonight in Jarrod Hayne, who also plays out of position in Origin for the Blues.

The pair will be keys for their respective sides in a match that is vital, but for different reasons.

The Rabbitohs are bunched with a group of five on 18 points, six behind leaders the Storm.

And although coming off the bye, they will still be retaining thoughts of their most recent outing against the Bulldogs when they were run down after leading 12-nil.

Conversely the Eels, also coming off the bye, will go in to the match buoyed by their last match.

Down 20-6 against the Sharks at halftime, they were scintillating after the break scoring 23 unanswered points to record just their second win of the season.

While Inglis is keen to impress at fullback, his Maroons teammate Dave Taylor is looking for a huge improvement on his well below par performance in Origin II.

The big second rower, in his first start on the big stage, was very disappointing on the right edge.

In this evening's earlier game between the Sharks and Warriors, Blues skipper Paul Gallen will wait until the last minute before deciding whether a worrying knee injury will prevent him from lining up for Cronulla.



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