Inglis to lead Maroons with actions like Beetson
Greg Inglis will be a man of action as captain of Queensland like the great Arthur Beetson, insist Maroons legends in the wake of the South Sydney leader being named the state's 13th skipper in State of Origin football.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters said he told Inglis that he would be captain in the last week and noted the excitement in his demeanour and his voice.
The 31-year-old will replace the retired Cameron Smith, who captained Queensland 21 times, when the Maroons take on the NSW Blues in the Holden State of Origin Series opener in Melbourne on June 6.
"That was a really special moment for me and more importantly for Greg," Walters said of the moment he informed Inglis he had the job.
"He is ready for the challenges that the job demands. He will be a different captain to Cameron in many ways but he has the great experience of Origin football with 30 games already to his name.
"He missed all of last year's series through injury and you could see the last two or three weeks with Greg's form at South Sydney that he is ready for the challenge that Origin brings, and on top of that as captain I think he is going to be an inspirational leader."
Maroons legend Chris Close played under Beetson in the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980 and has watched Inglis play and lead in the same inspirational fashion.
"Arthur led by what he did and not what he said and Greg will be exactly the same," Close told NRL.com.
"Greg is not a huge talker. I remember back to Greg's first couple of Origin games and there were times when he had to demonstrate his strength over the opposition and he did it with his actions.
"He didn't sledge. He just ran as hard as he could and tackled as hard as he could. That is the way he plays every game. He is just a beast.
"Arthur was the same and dominated with his actions in the sense that every time he went into a tackle he had a purpose to really annihilate the opposition. He did nothing for the sake of it and did everything with ferocity."
Maroons chairman of selectors Gene Miles said Inglis had an aura that only the greats possess and would lead his state with distinction, as Beetson did.
"Greg's presence is the same [as Beetson's] on the footy field," Miles said.
"He's big. He's aggressive and he does it with his actions. That is what we want, somebody to lead from the front. Big GI gets that palm going and his big body in front of them. I'm sure he'll do a great job for us.
"We've been led by one of the greatest players ever for the past [six] series. Whatever Smithy said and the way he reacted around the camp they all thrived on.
"I am sure that while Greg has that 'c' beside his name he won't change his character. He will lead by example."
Wally Lewis, who led Queensland in 30 games, agreed with Miles assessment but said he would be a different captain to Smith.
"I see Greg as being a different leader to Cameron Smith because his conversation on the field is very limited. Greg is an action man and has been since the first time he came into the Queensland team," Lewis told NRL.com.
"Those actions will only increase now that the responsibility has been cast on his shoulders, having that little 'c' next to his name."
Miles said Inglis was a wonderful Indigenous role model like Beetson and would follow in a line of great Maroons leaders.
"GI now becomes the 13th captain of Queensland and joins that great list which includes Lewis, Meninga, Langer, Lockyer, Tallis, Gillmeister...and Beetson," Miles said.
"I am just so pleased for him.
"I remember when he copped a bit of criticism a few camps back and he came out and destroyed the opposition.
"I dare say with his captaincy, where he does such a fantastic job at the Rabbitohs, will transition into Origin footy.
"I don't think Greg is a great talker. He will still have a chat to the referees but all we want Greg to do is tuck the ball up and create havoc, which he is very good at doing."
The series opener at the MCG is expected to be played before a crowd in excess of 80,000, with more than 55,000 general public tickets having already been purchased.
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Holden State of Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Tickets available at NRL.com/tickets.