Miles: Inglis a certainty at centre for Maroons
Queensland chairman of selectors Gene Miles has hailed Greg Inglis's combination with the Darius Boyd as the best left edge attacking duo State of Origin football has ever seen.
That is why, 11 weeks out from the opening State of Origin clash in Melbourne, Miles has declared that Inglis is a certainty to be picked to play his first Origin match for Queensland since 2016.
Al Inglis has to do is be on two legs and fit and healthy and he's in the team for Origin 1.
"If Greg stands up, he's in," Miles told NRL.com.
"I know that is going to cause angst amongst players but there has to be a position found for Greg.
"All things being equal, we have got an abundance of outside [backs] guys. If Billy Slater is up and running, then Darius [Boyd] will have to be found a spot on that left hand side where he and Greg had great success for a long period of time.
"They have scored so many tries over there and have the best record in Origin history on that left-hand side. It is the best left hand side combination we have ever seen, and the stats prove that."
Inglis has scored 18 tries in 30 games for the Maroons, an Origin record, while Boyd's tally stands at 17 tries in 28 matches.
NRL.com has crunched the numbers and as a centre/wing combination, Inglis and Boyd have scored 26 tries in the 20 games where that configuration has been used by Queensland, with both Boyd and Inglis playing other positions in the backline on several occasions.
Miles, Maroons selector for the best part of two decades, has over the years nominated players well before Origin 1 who would be in the team if fit and healthy.
Hardheads like Michael Crocker, Tonie Carroll and Neville Costigan were three of those at various stages during the Maroons' eight-year winning streak.
Inglis, a superstar of the game, is clearly on another level to that trio.
"Every time he has pulled the Queensland jersey on, he's done more than enough for us," Miles said.
"He's a big body and a fit GI throws a lot of fear into the opposition. He's intimidating.
"He's a big part to the team and he's captain of the Rabbitohs now with big responsibility on his shoulders.
"Greg went through a year of rehab on his knee and his mind and he'll be desperate to get back at that level with a lot of his friends.
"A couple have retired and a couple have been moved on but Greg is going to be excellent. We had eight debutants last year and we've got to have them in and around guys like Greg before they retire. He'll be straight in without any doubts."
The Maroons have a plethora of outside backs with Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Valentine Holmes and Corey Oates in the mix.
"With all the guys standing up and being healthy around selection time, there are going to be some major issues around fitting them in, particularly those outside backs," Miles said.
Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston have retired from Origin football and there is a new era dawning for the Maroons in the halves, but Miles said the next generation was ready.
Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans, Anthony Milford and Ash Taylor will have a say, but the versatile Cameron Munster and Michael Morgan loom as the next Queensland halves.
"Those two have been so dominant but Cameron Munster and Michael Morgan played in our final game last year [at five-eighth and centre] and went onto represent Australia in the Word Cup," Miles said
"They are never going to be a JT or a Cooper, but they proved to us during last years' Origin series, last year's [NRL] finals series in particular and then in the World Cup that they are ready to take that step."