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GI could still play this season

by Brad Walter, Chief Correspondent RLWC2017.com

Greg Inglis v England

This article first appeared on RLWC2017.com

Greg Inglis may not have played his last game of the season, with Australian coach Mal Meninga willing to select the South Sydney superstar for the Rugby League World Cup if he is fit.

Inglis, who ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during last Friday night’s season opening match against Wests Tigers, was due to have undergo surgery today (Wednesday, March 8).

It is anticipated that Inglis will be sidelined for six months, but the Rabbitohs won't rush him back until he has fully recovered and are preparing to play the remainder of the season without their captain and star fullback.

However, Meninga said the Kangaroos selectors would have no hesitation in including Inglis in Australia’s World Cup squad even if the 30-year-old did not play another NRL game this season.

"Greg's a really important part of the rep program, he’s one of our best players in the game and it’s very important that he's part of the team if he’s available," Meninga told Fox League.

"We'd have no hesitation in picking him if he hasn't played any games this year.

"I'm sure I’m speaking on behalf of all the selectors when I say he'll be in the picture, no doubt."

Meninga will choose a 23 or 24-man squad for the World Cup after the NRL grand final and the Kangaroos are likely to play a warm-up game before the tournament opener against England in Melbourne on October 27.

Inglis was a key member of the Australian team which beat New Zealand in the 2013 World Cup final at Old Trafford to reclaim the Paul Barriere Trophy the Kiwis had won five years earlier in Brisbane and will be keen to play if he can.

Since debuting for Australia on the left wing as a teenager in 2006, Inglis has scored 31 tries in 38 Tests and is likely to surpass former Test captain Darren Lockyer as the Kangaroos greatest all time try scorer if he plays in the World Cup.

While Inglis has been plagued by problems with his right knee in recent seasons, it was noticeable in Friday night's game against Wests Tigers that he did not have any strapping on it, but he injured the other knee.

Remarkably he played on for 50 minutes after suffering the injury early in the match and scored a try soon after, but scans on Saturday revealed the damage was more severe than Inglis or Souths medical staff had initially thought.

Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has said that Inglis will assist his coaching staff while he recovers from the surgery.

Australia plays England at Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium on October 27, France at Canberra Stadium on November 3 and Lebanon at the Sydney Football Stadium on November 11.