Inglis has hope 'even without Locky' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Inglis has hope 'even without Locky'

By Todd Balym 05/05/2008 05:51:13 PM Comments (0)

Australian star Greg Inglis says the Kangaroos have the potential for another pointscoring barrage over New Zealand despite losing skipper Darren Lockyer.

Australia thumped the Kiwis 58-0 last October in Wellington and Inglis believes the Kangaroos can repeat the dose if they execute properly in the Centenary Test at the SCG on Friday night.

Cronulla lock Greg Bird will again fill in at five-eighth in Lockyer's absence, while Billy Slater (fullback), Justin Hodges (centre) and Johnathan Thurston (halfback) are additions to the side which embarrassed the Kiwis last year.

Inglis has faith in Bird's ability to direct but says the star-studded backline will only be able to cross the tryline if their forwards dominate up front.

"There's always points no matter who you put on the field, it is just the way you execute," said Inglis.

"People will talk about our backs but I don't think you can overlook our forwards.

"Test football is always won up the middle and no doubt there will be quite a few bashings and quite a few big hits up the middle."

Star centre Mark Gasnier expects the Kiwis to provide tougher resistance this year and admits the loss of Lockyer will affect the Australian side.

"It's not going to happen," replied Gasnier when asked if a repeat thrashing was on the cards.

"We probably caught them off guard ... I think it was a bit uncharacteristic of the Kiwis.

"It's a huge blow (to lose Lockyer). He is probably the best player in the world and our captain and our leader.

"But his misfortune is another guy's fortune. Greg Bird took it with two hands in Wellington and won man of the match and deservedly so."

Backrower Paul Gallen says Cronulla teammate Bird will confidently replace Lockyer, even though he has played just 10 games at five-eighth over the past two years.

Bird wore the No.6 jersey for Australia and NSW last year, both times claiming man-of-the-match honours, and Gallen is tipping another impressive performance this week.

"He is the kind of bloke who doesn't let pressure get to him and he is pretty relaxed and very confident. He will be fine," said Gallen.

The decision to move Bird from lock to five-eighth earned Melbourne's Michael Crocker a Test reprieve, the Storm hardman added to the bench after initially dumped from the 17-man squad.

It has also helped balance the side as coach Ricky Stuart had earlier named backrowers who all play on the left-hand side at club level.

Bench forward Anthony Tupou, who is now likely to start, is another left side backrower and starting second-rower Ryan Hoffman admits somebody is going to have to play `out of position' for Australia.

"If it is me it won't trouble me at all," said Hoffman.

"It's just the other side of the field. At Melbourne when I play in the centres I always play on the right hand side of the field.

"You would play anywhere if you're playing for Australia."

But Gallen, who is likely to be given a roaming role if switched to lock, insists Hoffman remain on the left because that is where he is at his most dangerous.

"(Hoffman) comfortably makes breaks down the left side so I would say he will play there and I will be more inside and doing hit ups out of our end," said Gallen.

"Last year in Origin I played most on the right hand side of the field and I'm happy to play in the middle or right so it doesn't worry me."

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