Gasnier ready for Origin audition - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier ready for Origin audition

By Steve Jancetic 11/04/2011 06:50:21 PM Comments (0)

Mark Gasnier calls it a "gauge" but for NSW selectors, the St George Illawarra star's looming clash against South Sydney juggernaut Greg Inglis shapes as a State of Origin audition.

Gasnier will go head-to-head with Inglis at ANZ Stadium on Monday night - the mouth-watering contest a likely appetiser to another meeting on rugby league's biggest stage next month.

Injuries and some indifferent form from NSW centre rivals Jamal Idris and Michael Jennings have seen Gasnier firm into favourite to snare the right centre berth for the Blues on May 26, with the Dragons' prodigal son claiming he felt up to the challenge after returning to the NRL midway through 2010.

"I don't feel out of place out on the field," Gasnier said.

"I don't think your immediate thought process (in returning to the NRL) is in a rep jersey but it's definitely in so far as challenging yourself and seeing how your body is and how you're going against people like (Inglis) - it's definitely a gauge of how you're going."

At the moment, Gasnier's going pretty well, and getting better with each passing match.

His performance against Canterbury on Sunday was his best since he ended his 18-month stint in rugby union, so good in fact that he may have positioned himself to snare a 16th Test jumper alongside Inglis in the May 6 Test against New Zealand on the Gold Coast.

Adding to the glamour match-up is the fact the clash against the Dragons will be a litmus test of South Sydney's premiership credentials after their sorry performance in losing to an under-strength Wests Tigers outfit.

The Rabbitohs desperately need Inglis to fire, with his left-edge combination with Dave Taylor pivotal to the Bunnies' chances of causing an upset.

Gasnier said he wasn't trying to read too much into his battle with Inglis on Monday night, claiming success for the team would translate into personal gains.

"You get yourself up for every week because the competition's so close and if you don't you get found out, but you know when you're coming up against blokes like GI you're going to have to be on your game," he said.

"Greg's a great player, everyone knows that.

"You can't get caught up in that (the one-on-one battle) either - I think the best thing that has been going for us is the results have been going our way.

Everyone knows their role and what they need to do in order for the team to function.

"I won't be trying to do anything out of the ordinary to try and win an individual battle if it's not the best thing for the team."

While Gasnier and Inglis have come up many times over the years, they have only gone head-to-head in the centres on four occasions, with Inglis also having played on the wing and at five-eighth for both Melbourne and Queensland.

In 2006 Inglis scored a try both times they played against each other as Melbourne secured two wins over the Dragons, while their other meetings were in the opening two games of the 2008 Origin series.

In game one Gasnier dominated Inglis as the Blues won 18-10 but Inglis rebounded with a man-of-the match display in game two with Gasnier missing the finale through injury.

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