“I’m really proud of the way George has handled himself after last year and the disappointment [of the World Cup],” Tom told Fairfax Media. “He didn’t sulk or complain and just got on with the job. He came to every game he could during the World Cup to show his support.
“He’s trained hard and given [Bennett] no excuses not to pick him. He’s getting praise from the coaches for his movement off the ball, and he’s even coming up with some good one-on-one tackles.
“We were all together in Melbourne on Sunday when we got the call from team manager Jamie Peacock. He rang George first but it went through to voicemail, so when he rang me he said, ‘make sure George gets his voicemail’. It will be the first time we’ve played for England together since the Four Nations in 2016.”
Tom said the fact he was starting with George meant they would try to inspire each other with each carry. To prove how impressive George has been this season, his key stats such as metres gained and hit-ups blow away any individual Parramatta forward during the first half of the season.
Coach Anthony Seibold said of the Burgess’ boys blazing start: “A lot of the credit has to go to Tom and George.
“They’ve been consistent this year, and that’s the challenge for them, I continue to challenge them to have a narrow focus with their footy. Some things we’ve done as a coaching staff is make [their programs] a bit more individualised for them, and it seems to be working. I’m proud of George with his England selection. It’s well deserved.”
Inglis and the club’s three other Origin stars, Damien Cook, Angus Crichton and Dane Gagai, will all play against Parramatta after being rested from last week’s win over the Gold Coast Titans.
The quadruple boost means Souths will field arguably their strongest line-up all year, while the Eels, who sit at the bottom of the NRL ladder, are coming off a high with their shock win in Darwin.
Club great Peter Wynn was invited to training yesterday and addressed the group after the captain’s run.
Wynn shared the blue and gold love, but he was also mindful of trying to stop the Burgess clan. “The Burgess boys have played well all year and gone to another level,” Wynn said.