Inglis up there with Meninga: Vautin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Inglis up there with Meninga: Vautin

By Wayne Heming 11/06/2010 06:46:42 PM Comments (0)

Former Queensland player and coach Paul Vautin believes Melbourne Storm star Greg Inglis can end his State of Origin career being compared to Maroon great Mal Meninga.

A desperate NSW have taken a tip from former Queensland Origin and six-time premiership winning coach Wayne Bennett and selected Dragons centre Beau Scott to shut down Inglis who Vautin rates the hardest player in rugby league to defend.

It's a hefty gamble by the Blues who must win Wednesday night's second Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium to avoid the humiliation of a fifth straight loss at the hands of Meninga's maroon machine.

Vautin said Inglis, who's averaging almost a try a game in 11 Origins, was not far behind Meninga, a member of Australia's team of the century who played 32 Origins and scored a record 161 points for Queensland against NSW in the 1980-90s.

"Beau Scott is good, strong player but he'll have a really tough night up against GI," said Vautin, a 22-game Origin veteran who also coached Queensland to a stunning 3-0 upset over NSW in the 1995 interstate series.

"We see vision of Mal Meninga at his best and this bloke isn't too far behind him.

"To be honest I don't think Greg Inglis realises just how good he is, or can be.

"I honestly believe he can be a lot better - even up there in the Mal Meninga class." Inglis has scored nine tries in 11 Origins, but Vautin said he could improve considerably on that haul given he's just 23 years-old.

Vautin felt Inglis's laconic nature sometimes held him back on the field.

"He's such a relaxed character in life, I think at times he carries that over onto the footy field," he said.

"Maybe rugby league is a hobby for him, but he's such a wonderful player he seems to be able to step it up and produce in the really big games. "His right fend is as good as any I've seen and he has a stride on him like Kingston Town.

"He's a real match winner."

Vautin said Queensland fans will not have forgotten Brett White's punch that knocked out Steve Price in a fiery finale to Origin III last year and would "give it to him" when he ran out on Wednesday night.

NSW successfully put Queensland off their game in the dead rubber last year and have signalled their intent to do the same by recalling aggressive hard men Paul Gallen and Luke O'Donnell.

There was a feeling the Blues pushed the physical boundaries because veteran Queensland forward Petero Civoniceva missed the third game last year.

He won't play on Wednesday night after breaking his hand in Queensland's 28-24 win in Sydney and the Blues will fancy their chances of again roughing up their opposition without him there.

"They've brought back Paul Gallen and they'll talk up the aggressive stuff again," said Vautin.

"They talked it up before the first game in Sydney and produced nothing.

"They won playing that way last year so you just never know, there could be some fireworks.

The Queensland players attended a corporate lunch in Brisbane on Friday before heading to the Sunshine Coast for a three day camp.

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