Series bragging rights and Test captaincy honours at stake for Cordner and Inglis
IT’S a battle within the battle.
NSW captain Boyd Cordner and Queensland skipper Greg Inglis will not only be attempting to lead their respective states to Origin glory, they are also duelling for the Test captaincy.
Following the representative retirement of long-serving Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith, Test coach Mal Menin- ga is on the hunt to appoint a new leader for the most privileged job in rugby league.
Either way, Meninga can’t lose, however a winning series win for either captain would contribute to the decisionmaking process.
The Test coach is on record with his support for the incumbent Test vice-captain Cordner — who captained Australia when Smith was rested from a warm-up match against PNG and Fiji prior to last year’s World Cup.
“I see him as the next Kangaroos captain,” Meninga said last October.
“He has bought into the way the Kangaroos want to play.
“He is a player that will get picked every time the Kangaroos play.
“Greg Inglis isn’t here but I see those two guys fighting it out for the next spot to lead
the Kangaroos once Cameron makes that (retirement) decision.
“It is a great honour. He will do a terrific job.
“He is a great communicator. He is an ideal candidate to take over from Cameron.”
Inglis, who makes his Queensland debut as captain of a series on Wednesday night, would also be viewed as a worthy recipient.
Forced to miss last year’s World Cup due to injury, Inglis has represented the Kangaroos on 39 occasions.
Cordner has worn the green and gold 16 times.
Test forward and NSW teammate Jake Trbojevic said Cordner’s step up into the vacant Test job would prove logical.
“They’d both be fitting, but you’d think Boyd being the vice-captain, the natural progression would be for him to step in there,’’ Trbojevic said.
“Boyd never takes a backward step, he always does all the little things.
“He’s done it before at the highest level — he’s won a premiership, he’s played for his country.
“Then you’ve got Greg Inglis — what a player. He’s in such great form for South Sydney after having a year off, which is incredible. He’s been unbelievable to watch over the years.
“They’re both good talkers as well.’’
Cordner, who will lead the Blues in his fourth Origin on Wednesday night, was typically modest when asked by The Sunday Telegraph if a winning series would contribute to his ambition of leading Australia.
“I don’t really like to talk about it,’’ Cordner said. “But I’ll just keep going about my business and doing the best I can for my club and for the Blues.
“With ‘GI’ being captain of Queensland now, everyone knows how good a leader he is and how good a player he is.
“I just want to put my full energy and focus into this series and whatever happens, happens.’’
NSW skipper Boyd Cordner.