Inglis challenged to step up for Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Inglis challenged to step up for Storm

By Guy Hand and David Beniuk 01/04/2010 08:28:33 PM Comments (0)

Under-fire Melbourne centre Greg Inglis has been challenged by skipper Cameron Smith to throw his weight around in the Storm's top of the table NRL clash with St George Illawarra at Etihad Stadium on Friday.

Test star Inglis has come under scrutiny for a below-par start to the season.

Off-season hip surgery and concerns he is carrying more weight than he should be have been blamed for the 23-year-old being below his best in the Storm's three scratchy NRL wins.

While Melbourne are unbeaten in 2010, including a World Club Challenge victory over Leeds in the pre-season, Smith admitted Inglis had not been as effective as he could be.

And he has challenged Inglis to explode back to his best against the Dragons, who have also won their first three matches ahead of a clash many believe is an early grand final preview.

"From his standards, I think he's a fair way off still," Smith said of Inglis' form.

"He got some early ball last week against the Panthers and created some havoc down the left side.

"We want the same from him this week, to maintain what he showed us against the Panthers but to improve as well."

Inglis starred in the corresponding early season match last year, steamrolling Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward several times as the Dragons half was cruelly labelled Inglis' "speedhump".

Soward has improved his defence markedly since, particularly playing alongside centre Beau Scott who Dragons coach Wayne Bennett has said should be picked for NSW to contain Inglis in the State of Origin series.

Smith, though, suggested Inglis might still see the Dragons No.6 as a way to play himself back to his barnstorming best.

"GI's eyes light up whenever he sees anyone in front of him. He's a great player and he's pretty hard to defend," Smith said.

"A fair bit's been said about Soward and what happened last year at Olympic Park, but whoever's in front of him has got a big job in front of him.

"I'm sure if Jamie's there, GI will be calling for the footy."

Dragons captain Ben Hornby rushed to his playmaker's defence as the side flew out on Thursday.

"It's no big issue," he said.

"That was just one of those one-off nights so hopefully he's got a bit more help around him this year and things will go OK."

But Hornby is wary talk of Inglis being short of his best could stir the player many believe to be the game's best.

"It's just a matter of time before he does (fire)," he said.

"Greg's a great player, he's one of the best players in the game so I'm sure he's going to fire soon.

"We can't focus on too many of their individuals."

Nor can they focus on their record in Melbourne, where they haven't won since 1999.

"Obviously you've got to get on a plane, go down there, all the stuff that goes with that and they're a good side so that's another reason why they're hard to beat," Hornby said.

The two best defences in the NRL will battle it out while, perhaps surprisingly, the Dragons' attack is the sixth best in the league to Melbourne's 12th.

Storm fullback Billy Slater looms as a key player in the Emergency Services Cup clash, with an outstanding record at Etihad.

He has scored 13 tries in his past six club and representative matches there, including four in last year's qualifying final win over Manly.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news