Amazing Inglis No.1 in every facet of the game
Unstoppable … Greg Inglis strolls over to score his second try to cap a stellar display against the Eels. Photo: Quentin Jones
Modern-day coaches say that having a great fullback is like having an extra man on the field. Conversely, if you don't have a great fullback, you are giving away a lot of start to the rest of the field.
If we look at the top five teams in the competition, the theory certainly gains momentum. Bulldogs: Ben Barba. Melbourne: Billy Slater. Manly: Brett Stewart. Cowboys: Matty Bowen. South Sydney? Well, they have a man called Greg Inglis.
There it is. You can't argue with those facts. The top five teams on the ladder have the top five fullbacks in the game.
Of course, this raises the question: is it the fullback that makes the team great? Or does the team doing the job up front make the fullback?
If yesterday's match at ANZ Stadium is any reference, then there is overwhelming evidence to suggest the man wearing the No.1 jersey is now the No.1 position in rugby league.
Inglis produced a performance yesterday that was as good, and as influential, as any fullback contribution we have seen this season.
I will even go as far to say that had Inglis not played, South Sydney would not have beaten Parramatta by anywhere near the scoreline of 38-6.
I will come back to this magnificent footballer in a moment.
The final winning margin belies the closeness of the battle that took place. It was certainly no cruise for South Sydney. Parramatta did just enough to force the Rabbitohs to concentrate - if not even make them a little nervous at times.
It appeared Souths were determined to play the grinding, conservative style of football to wear down their opponent and make sure of the victory. In reply, the Eels taunted them with some ad-libbed, carefree passing rushes that tested the Rabbits' defence out wide.
There was even a period in the middle of the contest where Souths, leading 14-6 at the time, did not look like they knew how to put their opponent to the sword and finish them off.
His first-half involvement had produced a try and some flashes of individual brilliance. As it turns out, this was just the entree to a superb feast of rugby league excellence.
From the 45th minute though, Inglis owned Parramatta. Two tries to Nathan Merritt, and one each to Dylan Farrell and Andrew Everingham had Inglis's massive fingerprints all over them. He strolled over untouched to grab his second try just for good measure.
At his own end of the field his kick receptions were flawless and his kick returns bordered on the brutal. Those who approached him in the hope of making the one-on-one tackle did so at their own peril. They all ended up being launched into space and landing on their behinds. Inglis dishes out punishment with the ball in hand. It's the defenders who need to protect themselves.
Since moving to fullback, I believe the most impressive part of Inglis's game has been his positional play to the attacking kick and his fielding of the rolling ball. I thought he may have trouble with both. He is a big, tall man. When playing at centre, he had the tendency to sometimes fade in and out of the match in terms of his involvement and concentration.
At fullback though, he is in the game all the time - he is always where he needs to be. His skill and confidence in retrieving kicks stamps him as a man of rare talent.
His selective passing skills to outside supports, short, long, over-the-top, underneath or around-the-corner, have the finesse and accuracy of any of the great five-eighths.
Inglis's vision is amazing. He sees it unfold in slow motion, even though he acts with the speed of a viper.
Don't get me wrong; his teammates contributed. Forwards Sam Burgess, Roy Asotasi, Dave Taylor and Mick Crocker were strong.
Half Adam Reynolds executed the perfect kicking game. The outside backs Matt King, Merritt, Farrell and Everingham responded well to the chances created for them.
But Inglis was the man. The champion.