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Is Inglis being wasted at Souths?

Memo: South Sydney... for goodness sake, give Greg Inglis the ball.

Memo: Gold Coast... I implore you, pass it to Jamal Idris.

There is nothing more frustrating than watching the Rabbitohs and Titans fail to give their marquee players an acceptable amount of quality possession.

I couldn't believe what I was watching on Sunday night when Inglis lined-up against his former side Melbourne. He was given very little quality ball. It was either from dummy half, hit-ups or involvement in set plays. He did however provide a nice pass for the Chris McQueen try.

See Greg Inglis draw three defenders before passing to McQueen for a try assist


This bloke is on a contract worth about $600,000 a season. Talk about wasting one of the most prodigious talents in our game.

I think Inglis finally got some possession with room to move in the 77th minute when Souths' hopes had evaporated and they gave him space off a scrum and he almost got around the defence.

Check out the Inglis linebreak

It is just an inability by Souths' playmakers to take advantage of Inglis' amazing skills.

I can't help but think teams always want to take that one extra hit-up before giving players like Inglis the ball. They do it all the time. In this era of structured play and emphasis on quick metres around the ruck, the arsenal out wide is forgotten about.

Souths' playmakers have to realise when the opposition is on the back foot, that's when you feed Inglis. Give him 10 to 15 metres to run with the ball, not on the end of a structured set-piece. That's not his best time - let him have some freedom with the ball and with some space to run.

I think it is common sense to give Inglis the ball when the opposition isn't getting off their defensive line quickly.

We all know what Inglis is capable of. He is still ranked within the top five or 10 players in the game. He's a player of freakish and immense ability who, on his day, is simply awesome.

Guys like Inglis and Idris scare the hell out of opposition teams.

I have noticed the Titans aren't giving Idris much ball either. This bloke can terrorise an opposition defensive lines - if given the ball.

He is the Titans' big off-season signing so you want him touching the ball as much as possible. Give the big bloke some room and let him wind up and let rip.

Two quick passes and then say to him: 'Do your best'.

At the moment I can't help but think Souths and Gold Coast are wasting their marquee players. It's a tragedy.

I just don't think halfbacks know how to give quality ball to their big-name players. I hope they learn soon - otherwise they face another season of watching the finals on television.

***

Is Billy the best ever?

Boy, what a performance from Billy Slater for Melbourne against Souths on Sunday night. He is a rare talent - one of the great players of the modern era.

I guess it leads to the question: Is Slater the greatest fullback the game has seen?

Comparing different players from different eras is difficult and dangerous.

There is no doubt Clive Churchill has always been regarded as rugby league's finest number one; a player who revolutionised rugby league from the back.

He is an Immortal and rightly so.

And, of course, there is Graeme Langlands. 'Chang' is another Immortal who played a lot of fullback as well as centre.

I am not foolish enough to rate Billy ahead of these two. But I don't think he is too far behind them either.

For the record, I will rate Slater the best fullback over the past 40 years.

In that time we have watched Graham Eadie, Anthony Minichiello, Garry Jack, Gary Belcher, Brett Stewart, Darren Lockyer and Jarryd Hayne.

Lockyer, of course, played a lot of five-eighth in that time. These players were all brilliant - but Slater has his nose in front.

***

Manly still the team to beat

A fortnight ago I was asked to nominate my premiers. I said Manly - and am glad I did.

I don't want to sound cheeky but I was surprised at the amount of people that wrote off Manly's chances during the summer.

They are a first-rate side who are going to give this competition one hell of a shake.

I thought they played tough and hard yet again against the Wests Tigers last Friday night in Gosford. They just know how to win.

I tend to think too many people focused too much on Des Hasler's departure. To be honest, I didn't think Des's absence would hinder Manly that much, as great a coach that he is.

People should look at Manly's roster first and foremost. It is all class. The Sea Eagles will be there again come finals time, I have no doubt. And I reckon they will still be kicking come that first week in October.

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