Storm star earns bittersweet honour - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm star earns bittersweet honour

By Guy Hand 02/10/2006 07:12:14 PM Comments (0)

Eventually Melbourne centre Greg Inglis will look back on 2006 for what it was - a stunning breakthrough year which made him one of the most exciting prospects in rugby league.

Not right now though.

Despite the 19-year-old capping his stellar personal season with Australian selection for the Tri-Nations series on Monday, Inglis is still feeling the hurt of the Storm's grand final defeat on Sunday night.

Inglis and teammates Matt King and Cameron Smith were flying home from Sydney when the 23-man Australian squad was announced - told by reporters at the airport of their selection.

But Inglis admitted he was feeling more pain than pride after his side's 15-8 NRL grand final loss to Brisbane.

"I only found out about it (Test selection) when I got off the plane," he said.

"I've already represented my state, and now to represent my country will be a big honour.

"I haven't really stopped and thought about my year, but after the Tri-Nations I probably will.

"To play State of Origin, then to play in a grand final, but it (Test selection) is the last thing on my mind at the moment."

Inglis was shut down brutally by the Broncos' defence on Sunday night - the teenager described it as the toughest he had encountered in his short career.

Twice he was chopped down when on promising raids downfield which might have turned the game the Storm's way.

Yet Inglis can at least console himself with the fact he has gone from fringe first-grader to State of Origin selection to Test player in the space of seven months.

On Monday, he was more interested in consoling himself with a couple of beers with his teammates, mostly displaced Queenslanders, New South Welshmen and Kiwis who have formed a powerful unit both on and off the field in a foreign, AFL-mad city.

"Deep down inside the loss does hurt, but you can't go back and change it," Inglis said.

"We're back in Melbourne now, we'll enjoy each other's company and we'll get into it again next year."

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