Nielsen leans on Inglis ahead of Origin II - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nielsen leans on Inglis ahead of Origin II

Laine Clark 09/06/2011 03:53:38 PM Comments (0)

The man who recommended Dane Nielsen for State of Origin is now his Queensland room-mate - Greg Inglis.

And it seems the return of his mentor Inglis to the Queensland team could not have come soon enough for Nielsen.

A phone call from ex-Melbourne teammate Inglis to Queensland coach Mal Meninga just weeks ago started Nielsen's rollercoaster Origin ride.

And Nielsen admits he is still not comfortable in the maroon jersey after being thrown in the deep end as an Origin I bolter on May 25.

But Nielsen reckons he should be right for next week's Origin II if he follows Inglis's lead ahead of the big game - well, within reason.

"The room bill is going to be high again because he loves his food and snacks," Nielsen laughed.

"But we are really good mates, we roomed together while in Melbourne.

"He's great because I can also look to him for any advice - he has been there and done that.

"He will help me big time. I wouldn't say I am comfortable but I am glad to be back - I learned a lot in my first camp and hopefully (I'll learn) more in my second."

Inglis (hip) and Justin Hodges (hamstring) were not available for Origin I but Nielsen's Queensland call-up was still a major surprise.

However, Inglis said no other name came to mind when Meninga picked his brain.

During the same phone call he confirmed his Origin I unavailability to Meninga, Inglis said he recommended Nielsen "without hesitation".

"I was just speaking to Mal in general after telling him about my medical situation and it went from there," Inglis said.

"He asked me who do I reckon and without hesitation said Dane.

"Mal agreed with me. But I definitely threw his hat in the ring."

Still Nielsen would have been forgiven for thinking he had played his first and last Origin game last month, with Inglis and possibly Hodges on track for game two.

But fate stepped in - Willie Tonga succumbed to a shoulder complaint he bravely endured in Origin I, opening the door for Nielsen and Inglis to join forces for Queensland.

"I am glad he (Inglis) is back. I know how much he loves playing rep footy," Nielsen said.

"For me that is when he plays his best, he always goes up another level.

"While I am sad for Willie and admire how courageous he was in Origin I, it is good to see GI back as well."

Queensland are confident Inglis will be 100 per cent for Origin II despite being on light training duties at Maroons camp on the Sunshine Coast.

He has played just one NRL game since suffering a hip injury in May's trans-Tasman Test, and also had to undergo knee scans on Monday.

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