Greg Inglis is eyeing off more regular stints in Billy Slater’s No.1 jersey.
He may be in a makeshift Kangaroos line-up but Greg Inglis sounded like a man who wanted a permanent hold on the Australian No.1 jersey on Tuesday.
Five rookies are set to make their Test debuts after coach Tim Sheens named an almost unrecognisable 20-strong Kangaroos squad for Saturday’s Four Nations opener against New Zealand in Brisbane.
Inglis is among the many line-up changes forced by injury and suspension, slotting in at fullback for just the third time in what will be his 30th Test.
And in a major concern for injured incumbent Billy Slater, it seems that is where Inglis would like to stay.
“It’s something that I’ve been striving for but it’s a bit hard when you’ve got someone like Billy Slater in the No.1 jersey,” Inglis said on Tuesday.
“I’ll try and take my opportunity and really embrace it and hopefully hold on to it.”
Regular centre Inglis only played two Tests at fullback when Slater succumbed to a knee complaint at last year’s World Cup.
And it appears he hopes to make the most of his rare chance wearing No.1 while Slater, 31, watches on with a shoulder injury.
“The best thing about me is that I’ve got age on my side,” Inglis said.
“Billy is in his 30s and I’m only 27.
“He has a few more years left.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to go back to club (football) and perform to get your spot.
“It’ll sort itself out in the long run.
“At this point in time Billy would be the No.1 if he didn’t pull out through injury.”
Wingers Josh Mansour and Daniel Tupou, centre Dylan Walker, prop Aaron Woods and interchange forward Aidan Guerra were all named to make their international debuts against the Kiwis.
Inglis is not exactly a veteran but he has felt every one of his 27 years in the Kangaroos camp.
“I was in there doing medicals and the debutants walked in,” Inglis said.
“I had to get out of there, I felt a little bit old – I had to go find the older group.
“They bring a lot of enthusiasm and excitement to the side, which is a plus.
“There’s been a lot of negativity about boys pulling out, but they pulled out for the right reasons.
“We have a job here to do throughout the tournament.”
In the absence of Johnathan Thurston, Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans has been chosen to partner Cooper Cronk in the halves.
Beau Scott has been named in the back-row alongside Ryan Hoffman and Greg Bird, for his first Test cap since 2011.
Sam Thaiday will partner Woods in the frontrow.
Walker fills the right centre position that was opened up by NFL aspirant Jarryd Hayne.
Michael Jennings will play left centre next to Tupou.
Guerra, Robbie Farah, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Boyd Cordner, David Klemmer and Sione Mata’utia have all been named on an extended bench.