Greg Inglis
Greg Inglis Cade Mooney

Mighty Inglis one of Australia's biggest Origin names

IT HAS been 25 years since a State of Origin series kicked off and one player was being singled out as the difference between the two teams.

The hysteria currently surrounding Greg Inglis is akin to the mid 80s when Wally Lewis was gathering the eminence that eventually led to him being nicknamed The King.

Lewis left an indelible mark on Origin - 31 games, 30 of those as captain, and eight man-of-the-match awards.

By comparison, Inglis has made 18 appearances, yet he is already the leading tryscorer in Origin history with 14.

Remarkably, he may only have won just the single man-of-the-match gong, but he has never lost a series.

There is, however, no doubt Inglis enters this series as the absolute king pin, the man most see as the X-factor.

He will almost certainly be the bookies' favourite to win man-of-the match honours in game one, and score the first try.

And why not - he heads in to the match as Dally M points leader and heads the Rugby League Week player ratings.

This Inglis phenomenon is not new.

The 196cm, 105 kg centre-cum-fullback has won two grand finals with Melbourne, played 22 Tests and in 2009 was awarded the Golden Boot as the best player in the game.

But most would agree that this season he has taken his game to another level - almost the ultimate level.

Rabbitohs coach Michael McGuire seemingly flicked some magical switch when he moved Inglis to fullback, and his form in 2013 has been simply breathtaking.

So the question on the eve of Origin I is whether he can be as dominant at centre on Wednesday night.

Will he have a roving role, bobbing up in attack where his opponents least expect him, or will he play on the left side where he has previously terrorised the Blues?

But while the focus is on Inglis, don't be surprised if a big, rangy kid in a blue jersey makes an impact on Wednesday night similar to that of the Kempsey-born Queenslander back since 2006.

Raiders centre Blake Ferguson has come from the clouds to line up opposite Inglis and he is unlikely to be overawed.

A wild child who has served a club-imposed suspension this year, Ferguson is similar in many ways to the Greg Inglis model of a few years ago.

Both are athletes first and foremost, but Ferguson still needs to mature as a player.

His baptism in the biggest arena rugby league offers will be a tough one, and how he handles it will say much about him, and the prospects of NSW in this series.

For us, as fans, it's a simple case of 'bring it on'.


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