New, healthier GI has 2020 vision for Origin
CHAMPION centre Greg Inglis has delivered a chilling message to NSW fans on the eve of the opening State of Origin game - he wants to keep playing for Queensland until 2020.
Inglis, 27, has turned his life around since putting his career in jeopardy when blowing out to close to 120kg in 2009.
After dumping bread and fizzy drinks and reducing his meal portions, Inglis is playing electrifyingly good football at a super-fit and streamline 106kg.
After Queensland captain Cameron Smith, 31 next month, declared he wanted to continue leading the champion Maroons until at least 2016, Inglis trumped him by revealing yesterday that he thought he would still be playing Origin football in 2020, barring injury or any unforseen circumstances.
Smith, who has played 30 Origin games since 2003, will pass Darren Lockyer's all-time record of 36 games for Queensland if he plays on without injury until 2016.
But Inglis - lining up for Origin No.22 and already Origin's greatest try scorer, with 15 since 2006 - would pass both if he reaches his 2020 goal.
"Mate, I'll keep playing until my body has had enough," he said.
"If my body holds up fine I will hopefully get to 2020."
Inglis welcomed the news that Smith felt he could keep playing until 2016.
"I think it is remarkable (he said that), not only for Queensland, but for him personally," Inglis said.
"I think it's every footballer's dream to keep playing until you burn out."Inglis admitted he had undergone some serious dietary changes since letting his weight balloon out when he left Melbourne Storm and moved to the Roosters after almost signing with the Brisbane Broncos.
"Like you said, there were some big questions being asked about my weight back then and it's probably why I got all those injuries when I first started playing for Souths," he said.
Nowadays, he takes a greater interest in what foods and how much he eats.
"The older you get the wiser you get," he said yesterday as Queensland stepped up preparations for Wednesday night's clash with the Blues at Suncorp Stadium in the 100th Origin.
NSW fans have still not forgiven the Kempsey-born Inglis, who played for the Bowraville Tigers, for choosing to play Origin for Queensland.
Inglis said Queensland had nothing but respect for inexperienced NSW halves Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds, who replaced sacked Roosters duo Wayne Pearce and James Maloney in coach Laurie Daley's biggest selection gamble since taking over as coach last year.
The NSW pair has one game of Origin experience between them (Reynolds came off the bench last year) compared to the total of 39 games played by Queensland and Australian halves Cooper Cronk (12) and Johnathan Thurston (27).
Thurston is the only player to have played in every one of Queensland's eight-straight series wins and has not missed an Origin game since making his debut on the inside of Darren Lockyer in 2005.