Inglis ready to take charge for Maroons
It's the unseen responsibility that has the potential to bring an Origin team to their knees but Greg Inglis says he is now ready to provide the direction from fullback that his team will so desperately need next Wednesday night.
Although he has now played at fullback more times in the NRL (91) than any other position, the 2015 Holden State of Origin series decider at Suncorp Stadium will represent just his second opportunity to wear the Queensland No.1 jersey.
His only other chance came in Game Three 2012 where a Cooper Cronk field goal in the dying minutes saw the shield remain in Queensland hands for a further 12 months.
It was less than four months prior to that game that Inglis had made what would be a permanent move to fullback with club side South Sydney and since then he has played 76 NRL games at the back, time he has spent learning the importance of his role in organising the defensive line.
One moment of miscommunication could be all it takes to see an Origin series slip from your fingers but Inglis says he feels much more confident in his responsibility second time around.
"It just comes through confidence and being confident with the boys around you in order to boss them around the field and tell them to get in the right position," Inglis said from Maroons camp on Thursday.
"Obviously being at the back the front line can't always see where the opposition's coming. Talk is very vital and that's what Billy does extremely well.
"It's something that I've been learning over the last few years and I've been getting there, it's just continuing to do it."
Although on the wrong side of a 26-18 scoreline, Inglis was one of the best players on the field in Game Two, more than 90,000 fans at the MCG cruelled of an Origin moment to remember when a sneaky knock-on from Nate Myles saw his spectacular 90-metre run count for nought.
It may not have had an impact on the scoreboard but Inglis in full flight remains one of the game's purest sights and the clean pair of heels he showed the Blues chasers put to bed any memories of a lacklustre performance in Game One.
Inglis charging back at the New South Wales defence at full pace is a sight we can expect to see up to half a dozen times on Wednesday night, a prospect exciting not just for fans but for his teammates as well.
"Just having his big frame and his ability to break tackles; he's such a player that anything can happen around so it gives us a fair bit of excitement there that he's at the back," said Queensland prop Matt Scott.
"We're definitely going to miss Billy and what he brings to the game but Greg obviously brings his own type of skill and excitement to fullback."
For the Rabbitohs Inglis's kick returns lay the platform for the forwards to roll through the middle of the field, getting the sets started with a tackle bust or two and one of the quickest play-the-balls of any player in the NRL.
"It's a massive difference, especially in this game where field position's so important," Scott said of a powerful kick return.
"If we can have a good kick return for a front-rower it's gold, I love it. You don't have to go back too far so if Greggy can do a job for us like that and we can limit the amount of yards they have defensively so they're putting long kicks in and he's catching them on the full, that's what we want."
To that end, Inglis says he will brush up on his video homework and study the kicking patterns likely to be employed by Blues halves Trent Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce and their hooker, whether that is Robbie Farah or Michael Ennis.
"Probably more refresh the memory of their kicking and where they're planning to kick and what types of kicks they're going to do and obviously working with my back five as well," Inglis said of his preparation.
"Origin in any position is a big step up and you find out very very quickly about you as a player and as a character."