Infotainment Factory: The trouble with GI's Immortality case

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Sunday, 21 April 2019

The trouble with GI's Immortality case


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Is Greg Inglis an Immortal? And specifically, is he an Immortal when Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater - all Queensland teammates of Inglis - are knocking on the door at the same time?

It remains to be seen which of those players will be given the honour. Lockyer told Wide World of Sports that Inglis had a strong case, but with a difference to his peers that might complicate judgment in a stat-happy era.

"I don't look at the stats for Greg, I just look at what he did on the field. I just think that no one else could do what he did," Lockyer said.

"He's definitely in the conversation. There's obviously Slater, Smith, Thurston there; they're retiring around the same time.

"Greg probably hasn't had the longevity of the other guys, due to injuries. In the end, his body failed him, whereas the other guys - while Billy and Johnathan had their fair share of injuries too - they got through a bit more footy.

"I just think of Greg as a rare player in the game. When people talk about past players, be it 10, 20, 30 years on, they won't forget Greg Inglis and the way he played.

"If someone's name can stand the test of time through generations and always be remembered, that's a good barometer for Immortality."

WATCH DARREN LOCKYER ON 100% FOOTY ON MONDAY NIGHT AT 11PM AEST, WITH JAMES BRACEY, PHIL GOULD AND PAUL GALLEN!

Lockyer said that the glut of outstanding players from this era need not affect Immortal candidacy. Four of the Immortals - Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands and Norm Provan - came from the same exceptional era at one club.

"It's just a rare chain of events. You look at the St George team that won 11 premierships, a lot of legacy names came out of that era," Lockyer said.

"If you look at what the Queensland team did at Origin level for a decade, it's bound to have the same affect. Constantly, players who were a part of those teams are going to leave a legacy, not just on the field but off it as well.

"Greg, I've always said that he's the best athlete that's played our game."

The Goanna retires

Inglis is still mighty impressive on paper. He won a Clive Churchill Medal out of position at five-eighth in 2007 and captained South Sydney to a drought-breaking premiership in 2014.

He scored a State of Origin record 18 tries from 32 games. Brad Fittler recently claimed that of Queensland's eight consecutive series wins, the ledge might have been 4-4 of not for inimitable tries scored by Inglis.

He could play multiple positions exceptionally well and racked up 263 games for 149 tries; superb longevity, just not relative to Smith, Thurston and company. Inglis also won the 2009 Golden Boot.

However, against peers like Smith, Thurston, Slater and Lockyer, he's up against a raft of Dally M Medals, more games, more tries, more points, more Test and Origin caps.

But what Lockyer stresses is that you can't get stuck on what Inglis achieved, per se. You have to remember how he made you feel, when he did something that no other player possibly could.

"There was that Broncos try in '14 where he beat about nine blokes. That was when he was past his peak," Lockyer said.

"When he used to fly down that left edge at Origin level ... sometimes he'd just run around the fullback, regardless of how fast they were. If they got near him, he'd just palm them off.

"Thursto would run out with his outside forward and he'd drop GI under and he'd pretty much run straight over [to score].

"Steve Renouf was one guy I remember as a left centre, you'd give him the ball five metres out from the tryline and pretty much 90 per cent of the time, he'd score. GI was the same. It was not so much speed around there, just his strength.

"I felt sorry for Jamie Soward there a couple of times, and I think Kurt Gidley felt the brunt of it at Origin level. Greg could do stuff no one else could do.

"The try he scored in that 2007 grand final was vintage Inglis. Gets an offload, punches through and then he pretty much just ran straight around [Manly winger] Michael Robertson.

"You could play him centre, wing, fullback, five-eighth. Any of those positions he would be very good at. I think when he played six, he created space for his outside men because you needed at least two players to be marking him to make sure he didn't do damage running the football.

"He could get an offload away. Put it this way: I hated marking up on him one-on-one at six at a scrum."

Great as he was, Inglis is done. Lockyer still sees enough in South Sydney for them to potentially win the competition without their superstar this season.

"They were a bit ordinary on Friday, but they've got a great forward pack: Damien Cook coming out of hooker, the Burgess boys and then Cameron Murray," Lockyer said.

"They're going to miss GI's presence and aura out there in the backline, that's probably the biggest challenge for Souths. But if you're looking at creating a platform for a backline, then you don't get much better than the Souths pack.

"The ingredients are still there. In the big games at the back end of the year, you might miss that GI presence from a game-breaking perspective, but I get the feeling that Souths will be in the top four and any team in the top four is a chance of winning it.

"The key's probably someone like Adam Reynolds. They've lost a backline leader in Inglis, so now it's probably Adam Reynolds' time to step up and impose himself on that team a little bit more.

"That's probably the element that will be missing - who leads the backs - and Reynolds is a logical choice there.

"It goes without saying that Cody Walker a talented player. He played extremely well last week on the Sunshine Coast; that's a snippet of what he's capable of. He's a really good player and becomes a more important player again now with the absence of Inglis."

Is Greg Inglis an Immortal? And specifically, is he an Immortal when Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater - all Queensland teammates of Inglis - are knocking on the door at the same time?

It remains to be seen which of those players will be given the honour. Lockyer told Wide World of Sports that Inglis had a strong case, but with a difference to his peers that might complicate judgment in a stat-happy era.

"I don't look at the stats for Greg, I just look at what he did on the field. I just think that no one else could do what he did," Lockyer said.

"He's definitely in the conversation. There's obviously Slater, Smith, Thurston there; they're retiring around the same time.

"Greg probably hasn't had the longevity of the other guys, due to injuries. In the end, his body failed him, whereas the other guys - while Billy and Johnathan had their fair share of injuries too - they got through a bit more footy.

"I just think of Greg as a rare player in the game. When people talk about past players, be it 10, 20, 30 years on, they won't forget Greg Inglis and the way he played.

"If someone's name can stand the test of time through generations and always be remembered, that's a good barometer for Immortality."

WATCH DARREN LOCKYER ON 100% FOOTY ON MONDAY NIGHT AT 11PM AEST, WITH JAMES BRACEY, PHIL GOULD AND PAUL GALLEN!

Lockyer said that the glut of outstanding players from this era need not affect Immortal candidacy. Four of the Immortals - Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands and Norm Provan - came from the same exceptional era at one club.

"It's just a rare chain of events. You look at the St George team that won 11 premierships, a lot of legacy names came out of that era," Lockyer said.

"If you look at what the Queensland team did at Origin level for a decade, it's bound to have the same affect. Constantly, players who were a part of those teams are going to leave a legacy, not just on the field but off it as well.

"Greg, I've always said that he's the best athlete that's played our game."

The Goanna retires

Inglis is still mighty impressive on paper. He won a Clive Churchill Medal out of position at five-eighth in 2007 and captained South Sydney to a drought-breaking premiership in 2014.

He scored a State of Origin record 18 tries from 32 games. Brad Fittler recently claimed that of Queensland's eight consecutive series wins, the ledge might have been 4-4 of not for inimitable tries scored by Inglis.

He could play multiple positions exceptionally well and racked up 263 games for 149 tries; superb longevity, just not relative to Smith, Thurston and company. Inglis also won the 2009 Golden Boot.

However, against peers like Smith, Thurston, Slater and Lockyer, he's up against a raft of Dally M Medals, more games, more tries, more points, more Test and Origin caps.

But what Lockyer stresses is that you can't get stuck on what Inglis achieved, per se. You have to remember how he made you feel, when he did something that no other player possibly could.

"There was that Broncos try in '14 where he beat about nine blokes. That was when he was past his peak," Lockyer said.

"When he used to fly down that left edge at Origin level ... sometimes he'd just run around the fullback, regardless of how fast they were. If they got near him, he'd just palm them off.

"Thursto would run out with his outside forward and he'd drop GI under and he'd pretty much run straight over [to score].

"Steve Renouf was one guy I remember as a left centre, you'd give him the ball five metres out from the tryline and pretty much 90 per cent of the time, he'd score. GI was the same. It was not so much speed around there, just his strength.

"I felt sorry for Jamie Soward there a couple of times, and I think Kurt Gidley felt the brunt of it at Origin level. Greg could do stuff no one else could do.

"The try he scored in that 2007 grand final was vintage Inglis. Gets an offload, punches through and then he pretty much just ran straight around [Manly winger] Michael Robertson.

"You could play him centre, wing, fullback, five-eighth. Any of those positions he would be very good at. I think when he played six, he created space for his outside men because you needed at least two players to be marking him to make sure he didn't do damage running the football.

"He could get an offload away. Put it this way: I hated marking up on him one-on-one at six at a scrum."

Great as he was, Inglis is done. Lockyer still sees enough in South Sydney for them to potentially win the competition without their superstar this season.

"They were a bit ordinary on Friday, but they've got a great forward pack: Damien Cook coming out of hooker, the Burgess boys and then Cameron Murray," Lockyer said.

"They're going to miss GI's presence and aura out there in the backline, that's probably the biggest challenge for Souths. But if you're looking at creating a platform for a backline, then you don't get much better than the Souths pack.

"The ingredients are still there. In the big games at the back end of the year, you might miss that GI presence from a game-breaking perspective, but I get the feeling that Souths will be in the top four and any team in the top four is a chance of winning it.

"The key's probably someone like Adam Reynolds. They've lost a backline leader in Inglis, so now it's probably Adam Reynolds' time to step up and impose himself on that team a little bit more.

"That's probably the element that will be missing - who leads the backs - and Reynolds is a logical choice there.

"It goes without saying that Cody Walker a talented player. He played extremely well last week on the Sunshine Coast; that's a snippet of what he's capable of. He's a really good player and becomes a more important player again now with the absence of Inglis."

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