Greg Inglis sent a message on 'Queensland Day' about how determined he is to defy the odds and lead his new breed of Maroons into the next era.
The Queensland captain wasn't able to get the victory he craved on Wednesday night in the 22-12 loss to NSW in the Holden State of Origin series opener, but his inspired performance had Kevin Walters musing after the match that he wished he had "17 Greg Inglises out there" for Queensland after he defended and attacked with aggression and intent for the entire game.
Inglis told NRL.com after the loss about the message he gave his players in a team huddle that would be just as vital in game two in Sydney when the Maroons aim to square the series.
The 31-year-old delved into history and how Queensland had broken away from NSW on June 6, 1859 to become a colony of its own.
"I said it from the heart, that all I want the boys to do is go out there and really dig in for Queensland and dig in for each other," he said.
"I don't know if people realise but it is Queensland Day [on June 6] and 159 years ago Queensland decided to go by itself and just do things different. Ever since that's how Queensland have always done it.
"The message I just said to the boys in a huddle was to make your family proud, make your state proud and just do your job."
Walters: 'We had a mixed preparation'
Inglis spoke of how proud he was of his side after a week when star fullback Billy Slater withdrew due to a hamstring injury and winger Dane Gagai played 80 minutes despite dislocating his finger at training.
"I can't fault the boys for their effort whatsoever. Those key moments define Origin but you can't take it away from NSW," Inglis said.
"Even though we lost, I'm still sitting here with a smile, because I know we have a lot of improvement in us. It is just about fixing those little things up before game two."
Winger Valentine Holmes said Inglis's performance had the players determined to follow his lead in game two in Sydney.
"Greg put in some big hits that really pumped the boys up and he was aggressive with his carries," Holmes said.
"He was the best player in our team. I think we can learn a lot from his example for the next game."
Assistant coach Josh Hannay agreed that the performance of the Maroons captain had set the benchmark for the effort and passion that would be required in Sydney.
"I think everyone saw just how well the captaincy agrees with Greg," Hannay told NRL.com.
"He is the kind of player that has the ability to get others to follow. At times out there he looked like a man amongst boys and a class above."
Gagai also got a lift out of Inglis's performance.
"He didn't say much… just to do our jobs, don't worry about what everyone else says and just focus on ourselves and do the little things right.
"And I think with Greg, he doesn't really need to say much. He always leads with actions and he came up with some pretty good leadership moments out there when he got a shot away on [Tom] Trbojevic and also got [Nathan] Cleary out the back. Those things inspire a team."
Match Highlights: State of Origin I - NSW 22 QLD 12
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