Reports are emerging Down Under that South Sydney star Greg Inglis will replace Melbourne’s Billy Slater at full-back for Australia if the latter doesn’t put in a good performance on Friday night, when the Kangaroos take on New Zealand.
Inglis has enjoyed a blistering start to the season, characterised by a superb 90-metre try against Brisbane Broncos last week. Slater, in contrast, has been uncharacteristically sloppy, but retained the number one jersey for Friday’s Anzac Test regardless. The 30-year-old says speculation about the position is nothing new.
“To be honest, I’ve felt people coming my whole career,” he said.
“It’s not just Greg, Jarryd Hayne is playing some great football. Matt Bowen’s always been there, Ben Barba came on the scene and Anthony Milford is playing some great football at fullback.
“It seems like a spot that everyone has got to be in form. I just so happen to be the current fullback. I’ve got a job to do on Friday night, it’s not my job to talk about that stuff in the media, my job is to perform on Friday night. I suppose it pushes you along subconsciously. Consciously it’s just about measuring yourself against your own performances. I suppose subconsciously it’s there.
“I don’t look at it too much, I try and focus on my own game and what I can do for the team.
“Burying my head in newspapers and reading into all that sort of stuff isn’t the best thing for the team. What I do this Friday night is what will help the side. I need to prepare the best I can in that period in the meantime. I don’t look into it too much.
“Obviously Greg’s a great player and I’ve played with and against Greg for a long time now. It doesn’t matter where you play him, he’s going to be a key figure in your side. I’m very fortunate to play alongside him at Test level and state level, but I try not to read into it too much.”
Inglis, who plays out of position at centre for both Australia and Queensland because of Slater’s dominance, doesn’t believe he’s entitled to the full-back spot.
“I think Billy Slater – even though he’s not at his best at the moment – he can completely turn it around,” he said.
“Bill’s that player you need in the side. He’s the No.1 choice fullback and there’s no doubt about it. We’ll just see what happens in years to come as we get older.”