Souths 24 Eels 6

Jarryd Hayne runs the ball.

Jarryd Hayne runs the ball. Photo: Getty Images

One can only wonder, if Greg Inglis is given the Queensland No.1 jersey, how good can he be with two good arms?

MATCH STATS/AS IT HAPPENED

One can only wonder, if Greg Inglis is given the Queensland No.1 jersey, how good can he be with two good arms?

Nathan Merritt of the Rabbitohs makes a line break.

Nathan Merritt of the Rabbitohs makes a line break. Photo: Getty Images

Last night it initially appeared he did his chances more harm than good. After 22 minutes, the leading candidate to replace the injured Billy Slater suffered a strained medial ligament in his elbow. Perhaps this would be NSW's year after all.

But rather than go off, he carried on. Performing in front of Russell Crowe, the most recognisable of the 14,212 faces in the crowd, he was too good for Parramatta. The golden boot winner set up two tries and saved another, throwing in four tackle busts for good measure. All while under rain clouds, and an injury one as well.

After suffering the problem, it seemed the Maroons would go into a Suncorp Stadium decider with a third-choice custodian. However, given the way he played, and the assurances his coach gave that he'd line up in Friday night's blockbuster against Brisbane, Inglis will give nightmares to the Blues rather than Maroons coaching staff.

Greg Inglis and Justin Hunt celebrate a try.

Greg Inglis and Justin Hunt celebrate a try. Photo: Getty Images

''Credit to Greg, he just hung in there,'' Michael Maguire said. ''It's a little bit sore but I'm sure he'll be fine for next week.''

The seriousness of the injury remains unclear, but it appears the question is where - not if - he'll play in Origin III.

''I'm sure Greg can do a great job if he's put back there [at fullback],'' Maguire said. ''He's shown that for us. Greg's played five-eighth, fullback and can play in the centres. Wherever you put him, he'll do a job for you.''

One person not doing the job he is being handsomely paid to do is Chris Sandow. Playing against his former club for the first time, he was like a rabbit in the headlights.

His running game, his biggest asset when in form, has all but disappeared. On only four occasions he took on the line. And the one time he found open space, after taking an intercept from Inglis, he was run down by his unheralded replacement, Adam Reynolds. Having met his Alan Bond, Sandow's stocks have fallen just as quickly.

The tackle by Reynolds was a pearler and snuffed out any hope of an Eels comeback.

''It was an inspirational play,'' Maguire said. ''That's the best word for it. He put his head down, took off and that's the sort of kid he is. He's worked hard and that's why he makes those plays.''

While no one stood up more than Reynolds, the Rabbitohs had many contributors. David Taylor erased the memories of his poor Origin showings with an 80-minute performance.

His fellow forwards were also strong. Parramatta coach Steve Kearney said: ''We certainly got taught a lesson tonight, [in] playing wet-weather footy.''

The loss, one of many inflicted on the club in the past 18 months, raised inevitable questions about Kearney's future. Was he concerned about his job security?

''I can't, my focus is on dealing with what I have in front of me,'' he said. ''If I have my focus on that, I guess I'm going to take my mind away from what's important, which is doing my job. That's not an issue. I don't have a great deal of control over that, I'll just control what I've got to do.''

The job security of his halves is also in question. His assessment of their form was blunt: ''I thought tonight wasn't a great performance by both of them,'' he said.

SOUTH SYDNEY 24 (M Crocker D Farrell J Hunt N Merritt tries A Reynolds 4 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 6 (R Maitua try L Burt goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Alan Shortall, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 14,212.