Maroons legends Mal Meninga and Steve Renouf have backed South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett to get Greg Inglis "buzzing again" when he returns from injury.
Inglis, who had shoulder and neck surgery in the off-season, has played two games this year for the Rabbitohs at right centre. Injury has ruled him out since and Bennett has told Inglis he must be able to play without needles to take his place in the side.
This week Bennett could see Inglis was in need of another week off after also falling ill so told him to rest up until next Monday.
The 32-year-old checked himself in to a mental health clinic in May of 2017 when he realised he needed some help after battling with being on the sidelines and away from his teammates in a year where he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Last year Inglis told NRL.com about his struggles with self-doubt and then this year, on Fox Sports’ League Life program, he revealed how he had turned to alcohol to nurse him through tough times in his career, and conceded he had spoken to Bennett about it.
Queensland need and want their captain Inglis to be at his best in this year's Holden State of Origin series.
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Meninga told NRL.com that Inglis was far from a spent force and had been wise to speak about several of the issues he had been addressing.
"That is the way you need to be and how you need to treat it. You have to be able to talk about it and verbalise it. That is one of the strong attributes you need to get over depression and things like that," the Kangaroos coach said.
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"Wayne Bennett has got a great understanding about how to manage all players and from what I understand Wayne has been a great confidant for Greg at the club. I think that is fantastic.
"Greg has had a disrupted pre-season and we all just want him back playing footy. When he does, gradually his footy will get better and his confidence will get better. I’m sure he will be buzzing at Origin time.”
Renouf leaned on Bennett to get him through challenging periods of his career and said the mastercoach would "get GI back to his best" in time.
"We've all been through challenges as rugby league players and he is in the hands of one of the best in Wayne Bennett," Renouf told NRL.com.
"If I have any advice to Greg it is to listen to Wayne. I said that to James Roberts here at Brisbane. Wayne is really nursing Greg through this period and he is in good hands."
Inglis has a phenomenal record at left centre for the Maroons but Meninga said he could slot in as easily at left centre or right centre for Queensland depending on the make-up of the side.
With Bennett deciding centre will be the best position for Inglis at club level, and Kalyn Ponga returning to fullback for Newcastle, Meninga said coach Kevin Walters and the Maroons selectors now had a more straight-forward job in finding the heir to Billy Slater’s throne.
"If Kalyn is playing one for Newcastle it certainly helps Kevvie’s decision,” Meninga said.
"Number one is a specialist position. You’ve got to be on-ball and have high energy at one, and be match fit, so if Kalyn is playing well there at club level then that helps him do it at state level.
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"We have got a really good spine. There is Andrew McCullough at nine, and Benny Hunt can play there as well. You’ve got Michael Morgan back and DCE and [Cameron] Munster playing terrific. We just want Milf [Anthony Milford] to fire for the Broncs.
"We’ve got some quality players around for Queensland that are going to give us some longevity and sustainable success for the next few years."
Meninga said he was also well positioned with halves for the Kangaroos side, nominating Penrith's Ivan Cleary and Souths duo Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker as players who will challenge the three players selected in the national squad at the end of last year, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cameron Munster and Luke Keary.