ANDREW JOHNS – NINEMSN COLUMN

Inglis should be a $1 million man

BY Andrew Johns – August 29, 2012

Greg Inglis says he can improve his game as South Sydney heads towards a shot at premiership glory. That is a terrifying thought, because at the moment he is a long way ahead of the opposition. There has been talk this week of Inglis becoming the first player to break the $1m a season contract mark. Apparently Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe is keen to lock the superstar in for another four years and who could blame him. If anyone deserves to be the first to crack that figure, it’s Inglis.

You would only have to ask Rabbitohs boss Shane Richardson roughly how much Inglis is worth to the club to realise his true value. Inglis brings fans through the gate every week, he boosts sponsorship opportunities for the club and increases merchandise sales. Most importantly he is a key reason the Rabbitohs are going so well this season and a shot at winning their first title since 1971 is absolutely priceless to the club and the fans. Realistically, $1m a season should be the minimum contract for a player of his stature in the game.

Inglis’s performance against Parramatta on the weekend was awesome, he was virtually unstoppable. I don’t agree with deliberately kicking the ball over the dead ball line, but you definitely have to kick it as far away from Inglis as possible. You can’t afford to give him time to wind up. Cronulla half Jeff Robson showed a couple of weeks ago the most effective way to stop him. Robson speared in on an angle and down low to chop the big fullback down at the ankles. The problem with that method is that it has to be perfectly timed and with the brilliant footwork Inglis has in his arsenal, it’s nearly impossible.

The other main weapons Inglis has at his disposal are his ability to bump off players through size and strength and his incredible fend. Nathan Hindmarsh was telling me that Inglis is the hardest player he has ever had to tackle, and if anyone knows about tackling its Hindy.

Hindy is one of a number of players hanging up their NRL boots this season, with four of them going out in the one game this Sunday evening in Sydney. Hindmarsh, Luke Burt, Dean Young and Ben Hornby will come together in the middle of ANZ Stadium as Parramatta and St George Illawarra end disappointing seasons. I hope they get a huge crowd out there to celebrate the careers of four blokes who have been absolute ornaments to the game. These four have given their hearts for their clubs and are prime examples of why the salary cap has to increase and salaries across the whole squad have to improve. They may not be superstars of the game like Inglis or Johnathan Thurston, but no club can be successful without players like these.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has said his Titans don’t deserve a spot in the finals and the same could be said about Wests Tigers. Both teams still have an outside shot at making the final eight, but both have played some really inconsistent football during the season. At their best both teams could have had a crack in the finals, but they have showed their worst too many times during the year and will more than likely miss out because of it.

I think Brisbane will snap out of their poor run and secure a spot in the eight with a win over Penrith on Friday night. Canberra plays New Zealand on Sunday and the way the Warriors have been going lately they wouldn’t beat Cessnock Goannas. I don’t know what is going on over there, but top class players just aren’t putting in the effort required to compete in the NRL. If both teams play as they did last week, the Raiders will run up a big score and the eight will be decided. Unfortunately for the Tigers and Titans I think their fate will be sealed on Saturday as I can’t see them beating Melbourne and Manly anyway.

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