Greg Inglis has been very quiet by his standards in the 2014 State Of Origin series. A lack of opportunities and very good defense by New South Wales have seen Inglis have very little impact on the first two games.
In the past Billy Slater has looked untouchable in the fullback role for Queensland and Australia. No matter how well Inglis played for South Sydney, Slater’s form at representative level has meant that you couldn’t justify dropping him for Greg Inglis.
Going into the 2014 State Of Origin series the common theme coming out of New South Wales is that they would rather see Billy Slater playing at fullback for Queensland instead of having to deal with Greg Inglis in the number one jersey. That is telling.
At 31 years of age Slater looks like injuries have taken a half step off him. That still makes him one of the most dangerous players in the world, but he has lost an edge he once had.
Queensland will have to start to consider the future makeup of their side. While I agree with the majority that they don’t need to completely rebuild what they have, they do need to look at where they want to be in a few years time.
Greg Inglis is only 27. He is in the prime of his career. He will be playing for Queensland and Australia for years to come. The more ball that Greg Inglis gets, the better it is for Queensland.
With Inglis’ size and speed, he is going to do more damage running the ball back than Billy Slater can at this point in his career. Just the physical toll that is taken to bring down Greg Inglis on every kick return is enough to wear and opposition side down.
I think the time has come for Greg Inglis to move to fullback for Queensland and for Australia. It is not a mark against Billy Slater who is still a great player, it is acknowledging that Greg Inglis is probably the more dangerous fullback in the game right now.
I think Billy Slater can still be a real asset for Queensland and even Australia on the wing. With Brent Tate out for the season Queensland even has a wing spot available for Slater to move into.
It is a tough call and one I don’t think anyone really wants to have to make. Billy Slater has been such a good player for so long, you never want to see a great player told that there is someone better that they need to move aside for.
I love watching Billy Slater play, but right now, he looks like a player that is being slowed down by the wear and tear of the position he plays. A move to the wing at representative level could help extend his representative career by a few years.
Queensland don’t need mass changes, but they do need changes. Getting the best player in the world more ball is a must if the Maroons want to avoid being swept in the series.
I think the time is right for Greg Inglis to wear that famous number one jersey. I think it is a move Queensland needs and I think it is a move Australia needs to make as well.