It's all up to Inglis: Alexander
Only Greg Inglis's devastating best every week from here until Grand Final Day will be enough for South Sydney to win back-to-back premierships according to Fox Sports commentator Greg Alexander.
Writing in this week's issue of Big League, Alexander has highlighted the five individuals he believes have the greatest influence on their team's title aspirations with the Rabbitohs' reliance on Inglis as significant as Johnathan Thurston at North Queensland and Ben Hunt at the Broncos.
After an indifferent first Origin game that was hampered by an illness in the lead-up, Inglis burst back to life at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Game Two and came up with a number of crucial plays against the Dragons last week to ultimately prove the difference between the two teams.
But if the Rabbitohs are to defy more than 20 years of history that says premierships are impossible to defend, Alexander believes that type of performance has to be the norm, and not the exception.
"The loss of Sam Burgess and Ben Te'o over the off-season means that if South Sydney want to have a chance to go back-to-back, they'll need Greg Inglis playing the best football we've ever seen from him," Alexander says in the Round 20 issue of Big League that features Inglis's close friend and Maroons teammate Darius Boyd on the cover.
"The Souths No.1 has almost ambled through this season – with the exception of the opening rounds – and it's up to him to stand up. The good news for Rabbitohs fans is that he's shown signs he's ready to do that.
"His past two Origin performances were some of his best, and in the second half against the Dragons he was back doing the things that only he can do.
"Unless he can be that dynamic for 80 minutes each week though, I don't think they can win."
While the likes of Inglis, Thurston and Hunt are somewhat obvious choices for a list of players who can all but carry their team to a title single-handedly, Alexander believes the Roosters' secret weapon is centre Blake Ferguson.
"James Maloney has been the Roosters' most consistent player, but Blake Ferguson is their most dangerous," says Alexander. "Ferguson has shown in the last couple of matches that he could be dynamite at the end of the season.
"His early injury may be a blessing in disguise if he can enter finals feeling fresh and bringing the kind of form he was a few seasons back.
"In nine games he has already made 11 line-breaks and forced his way through 29 tackles. If his numbers continue to rise, so too will the Roosters’ hopes."
The Round 20 issue of Big League is on sale now at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through Zinio.