Smith tips vintage Inglis in Origin II - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith tips vintage Inglis in Origin II

By Wayne Heming 13/06/2011 06:04:22 PM Comments (0)

Queensland hooker Cameron Smith is tipping a gold-plated return to State of Origin for superstar Greg Inglis, saying he looks fitter than he has for at least three years.

Inglis' form and fitness after off-season shoulder surgery and an early season hip injury have been hot topics in 2011.

His rushed return to the Queensland side in the absence of centres Justin Hodges (hamstring) and Willie Tonga (shoulder) was questioned in some quarters on the back of just one game back from the hip problem.

But Smith, who knew GI better than most, said the 24-year-old had done enough to suggest fans could see some vintage Inglis, provided the ANZ Stadium surface is not too wet on Wednesday night in Sydney.

One of ten rookies introduced by Mal Meninga at the start of Queensland's five-series winning streak in 2006, Inglis had always had a strut and an air of cockiness.

But he had always backed it up on the field.

Smith believed missing the opening Origin game in Brisbane was a reminder to Inglis of what could so easily be taken away.

"He was talking earlier in the week how much he missed playing Origin," said Smith, who spoke to Inglis a number of times about his future when he was looking for a new club last season.

"When he first started playing, he probably took it a little bit for granted he was playing State of Origin.

"But after missing that one (game one), I'm sure he understands how special it is to be able to represent your state.

"He's training really well after missing a few early sessions.

"It's the best I've seen him looking for three years and I'm guessing he's going to have a big one."

NSW dragged up the "traitor" line again, claiming Inglis should be wearing a sky blue jumper, having been born in Kempsey.

"At the end of the day, it was Greg's decision," said Smith who'd heard it all before.

"I don't think the QRL tied him in a seat, tortured him and told him he had to play for Queensland.

"The same with the other guys born down there. It was their choice and they decided to come to Queensland.

"That line is getting a bit old now.

"Greg brushes it aside. It doesn't upset him. He's heard it thousands of times.

"All he knows is he is a Queenslander and he loves playing for the Maroons."

Inglis will have to brush aside more than the jibes to get to the tryline on Wednesday night against classy rival Mark Gasnier.

Gasnier took a pounding from Dragons' teammate Darius Boyd, who continually raced off his wing in game one to help injured centre Tonga in Brisbane.

If Inglis is back to his destructive best, as Smith thinks, he could give Gasnier another tough night.

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