Inglis: Premiership the ultimate goal
Star Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis has spoken of his desire to win a premiership with South Sydney this season, the 27-year-old denying that losing an Origin series with Queensland for the first time in his career has further influenced such aspirations.
While Inglis has two premiership rings from his time at the Melbourne Storm, they have been consequently stripped from the record books due to the Storm's controversial salary cap dramas, revealed in 2010.
While South Sydney have gone close in recent years having reached the preliminary finals in the past two seasons, Inglis is craving for a (technically) maiden premiership in the NRL while maintaining, that above representative honours, the premiership has always been his and the Rabbitohs’ definitive goal no matter the circumstances.
"Origin and representative jerseys all reflect on your club performance and the way you're playing at club level. Sure Queensland didn't get the Origin series but everyone's thinking about the ultimate prize and that's the premiership," Inglis said.
"You're with your mates 10 months of the year [hoping that] it pays off. At Origin you're only with them for three days of the year. Origin is a tough task, it is unfortunate that we lost this year but that's in the past."
With the Rabbitohs facing likely minor premiers in the Sea Eagles on Friday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, coincidently the team that knocked them out of the final four last season, Inglis noted that this week's opponents are "in a way" a huge test for his team.
"[Manly is a team that will] keep coming at you for 80 minutes. They're an 80 minute team and they can never say die so you always have to be on your toes and always be aware of the attacking weapons. You can never assume anything with them," Inglis said.
"I haven't been watching too much footy this year to be honest. It is a bit hard when you have a newborn but the highlights I have seen shows they have been playing really well and Brett Stewart's probably once again back to his best when Manly were making all those Grand Finals.
"They're four points clear [on the ladder] so they're obviously the benchmark.
Having recently recovered from defeats to the Cowboys and Titans with big scorelines racked up against the Eels, Raiders and Knights, the Rabbitohs hope to maintain their form against the ladder leaders on Friday night.
With a hot Manly team looking for five wins on the trot, Inglis maintained that while the Rabbitohs will be tested they have no point to prove to anyone but themselves and will approach Friday night like any other game they have played previously in 2014.
"You have to be up [for games] every single week. It doesn't matter who you're playing, it is just the way the competition is. There's a point to prove to ourselves to keep building on what we have been doing the past three weeks. We can only judge ourselves and the way we perform," Inglis said.
"We can't control how Manly will come out and play or any of the outside distractions – we just need to concentrate on what we have to do as a team.
"You can tell that by how the competition is going and how tight it is... that it is a test each and every week. Sure it is a really good test for us leading up to the finals but we have five weeks of really good competition [to come] and I think most of the teams we are playing are in the top six.
"We just have to keep building and focus on what we can do and how we can control it."
With the likes of Inglis fit and firing and Sam Burgess set to depart to English rugby in 2015 the fairytale is perhaps already scripted for South Sydney to win their first premiership since 1971.
Whether they choose to write the next chapter or not however is completely up to them.