Warrington’s big selection dilemma: Greg Inglis is ready for duty, but who makes way?

James Messenger

Warrington boss Steve Price has revealed that Greg Inglis “will be playing next week” against Hull KR, but the question remains over who will be the unfortunate party to depart. 

It is one of a number of selection headaches facing the Wolves head coach as he heads deeper into his final season with the club

Yesterday’s impressive 24-8 victory in Perpignan ended Catalans’ unbeaten start to 2021, but perhaps more importantly showed Warrington’s ability to meet a sizable opposition pack head on – something which has been a suggested achilles heel, especially compared to the ever-dependable talent available on both edges. 

With a decorated global star like Inglis fit and ready for duty, Price will be forced to tackle a dilemma that most other managers could only dream of.

The Australian, who has been at the helm since 2018, even had the luxury of leaving Great Britain international half-back Blake Austin, one of the more influential and dependable players during his tenure at the club, back in England as the rest of the squad travelled to the South of France.

Blake Austin was missing from Warrington’s trip to Catalans.

“It’s more about Austo,” Price said of Austin’s omission. “He is an important part of our team, but I thought today the best way of going forward was with Stef and Gareth, and it worked out OK.”

On Inglis’ forthcoming debut, the 43-year-old added: “Greg will be playing next week somewhere in the 17, and I’ll make that decision later in the week.

“I’ve got some tough calls to make but it’s a good headache to have.”

That final point couldn’t be more apparent. 

Since confirmation in May 2020 that Inglis would be coming out of retirement to appear for the Wolves in 2021, fans of the club, and Super League in general, have been eagerly awaiting their first glimpse of GI in competitive action on UK soil. 

That wait has perhaps gone on longer than expected, but there is no doubting the qualities that he will ultimately bring. 

Before hanging up his boots, the 34-year-old had enjoyed a stellar career which yielded three NRL titles, a World Cup winners medal and a Golden Boot award. 

Greg Inglis made just short of 150 appearances for the South Sydney Rabbitohs between 2011-19.

And considering Inglis’ two-year absence from the game, it was always going to take some time for him to get back up to speed. 

It is interesting to note that his impending first team debut has coincided with a real purple patch for Jake Mamo, one of the players who could make way against the Robins. 

It was Mamo’s last-gasp try that took the game to golden point when Warrington visited Hull FC last week. It was he who scored a magnificent length of the field intercept score against the Dragons yesterday evening. 

With Tom Lineham still out after picking up a three-match suspension against Championship side Swinton in the Challenge Cup, 18-year-old Josh Thewlis has also been asked to deputise on the wing for the last two matches. 

Tom Lineham will serve the final game of a three-match suspension when Warrington face Hull KR.

Both men have more than justified their selection on a permanent basis, but they will likely be the pair to miss out when Lineham and Inglis both feature. 

Inglis is a household name, and his highly anticipated inclusion will inevitably lead to much media attention on both sides of the globe. 

It was always a case of when, not if, the Australia international would make his Super League bow, but victory in Perpignan will likely lead to some difficult conversations as the week progresses.

“We got our systems right, and to keep Catalans to one try for a full 80 minutes is a really positive performance for us,” Price said of his side.

“I’m super proud of all the boys, it was a tough old game of footy. The effort area has certainly improved, which we’ve been asking for, and they certainly delivered on that.” 

As Price said post-match at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, the decision over who plays and who doesn’t is for another day. 

For now, the Australian and his coaching staff will be content to bask in the glory of a convincing result against one of the competition’s in-form sides.

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