NRL: Forget SBW, Souths have Inglis

Greg Inglis is rested and injury-free heading into a season for the first time since his early days at Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images
Greg Inglis is rested and injury-free heading into a season for the first time since his early days at Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images

Forget Sonny Bill Williams, South Sydney are ready to unleash their own NRL goliath in Thursday's season-opener in the form of a fit and firing Greg Inglis.

Never before has Inglis entered a season more prepared to wreak havoc, teammate John Sutton describing some of his pre-season work as freakish ahead of the derby against arch-rivals Sydney Roosters.

"He's been freakish at training and on the field the last few weeks," Sutton said.

"(He gives the players) heaps of confidence.

"When he's bringing the ball back, he's 110kg, he gets a 30-metre run-up before he meets the line, he's not stopping.

"He gets all the boys buzzing and he drives our team."

While they play vastly different roles, the clash between Inglis and Williams reunites two of the NRL's most impressive physical specimens.

Both stand in the vicinity of 195cm and 105kg - and have the ability to offload in traffic.

With no end-of-season Test tour or off-season surgery, Inglis is rested and injury-free heading into a season for the first time since his early days at Melbourne.

He has also had a full off-season to grow into the fullback role, a scary prospect for opposition defences given the impact he had when switched to the No.1 jumper early in last year's campaign.

The 26-year-old has also taken on more responsibility within the playing group, ensuring motivation won't be a problem for the Test and Queensland Origin star.

"Definitely, he's really stepped up this year in his talking," Sutton said of Inglis.

"He's played so much footy, he's played for the highest honours - everything he says the boys listen and take in."

While the Bunnies are excited about the prospect of unleashing Inglis in one of the most anticipated season-openers the game has seen, there is little doubt they are also wary of what Williams could bring.

Just how Roosters coach Trent Robinson uses Williams remains to be seen, an impact weapon off the bench the most likely scenario.

Despite question marks over Williams' match fitness, given he hasn't played football since a pectoral muscle injury brought a premature end to his rugby union stint in Japan late last year, the Rabbitohs aren't expecting anything but the best from the dual international.

"I think he is (ready) - he's a professional," Sutton said.

"Boxing and rugby union, he's done it all, he's going to be ready."

However Souths back-rower Ben Lowe said the Rabbitohs had more to worry about in the Roosters than just Williams.

The tri-colours have also added Michael Jennings and James Maloney to their roster and are coming off impressive trial wins over Manly and Wests Tigers with Williams a spectator.

"A lot of people are very interested to see how he (Williams) goes, but we're worried about the full 17," Lowe said.

"We worry about one person and the other 16 will probably pull our pants down and it would be quite embarrassing."

- AAP


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