Reed relishing Inglis test
England newcomer Jack Reed is relishing the chance to take on Greg Inglis, hailed as the world's best centre.
Last Updated: 02/11/11 4:46pm
England newcomer Jack Reed is relishing the chance to take on Australia's Greg Inglis, hailed as the world's best centre, this weekend.
Inglis is set to end a 10-week lay-off by returning from injury in Saturday's Gillette Four Nations clash with England, the second half of a double header at Wembley.
The 24-year-old South Sydney three-quarter, who was the player of the tournament after terrorising England in 2009, missed last year's Four Nations Series in order to undergo shoulder surgery.
He also sat out the last month of the NRL season with an ankle problem and, after subsequently undergoing minor knee surgery, missed both the Kangaroos' recent matches against New Zealand.
Now in full training, Inglis is set to make his tournament bow against England as an injury to right centre Willie Tonga will likely force the hand of coach Tim Sheens.
Rookie Michael Lawrence was expected to be the man to make way but he will now switch from the left to accommodate the player known simply as "GI".
That will put him directly up against Reed, the Brisbane Broncos centre who will win his third England cap after enjoying a strong debut season in the NRL.
"They'll bring GI onto their left edge and it will be a great challenge," Reed said. "I'm looking forward to it.
"I was on the opposite edge to him both times we played the Rabbitohs but I've seen him play all year.
"He's an absolute phenomenon of a player. He's got speed, size and strength and, even though he's been out for a few weeks, I know he's going to stand up big and have an absolute blinder of a match.
"We've got to be aggressive and try to target him a bit, hopefully work on his weaknesses."
Tonga injured his hip in the Kangaroos' 26-12 win over the Kiwis at Warrington, in addition to partially tearing his pectoral muscle, but has not been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
Sheens is expected to make one other change by including uncapped St George Illawarra second rower Beau Scott on the bench.
Reed will be up against two of his Brisbane team-mates in second rower Sam Thaiday, who was man of the match in the Kangaroos' opening win over the Kiwis, and captain Darren Lockyer.
"They're two of the best players in the world, one of them the best five-eighth that ever walked the land," he said.
"To have the opportunity to play with those boys has been great and it will be a wonderful challenge to play against them."
Reed, who was just two when his family emigrated to Queensland, was on the radar of Maroons boss Mal Meninga and Thaiday said he was surprised by his decision to play for England.
"He could have hung around there for a few more years and worn a Queensland jersey but he's playing for his country now and he's going to be a proud Englishman," Thaiday said.
"I wish him all the best and I know he's going to be a handful. He surprised a lot of people in the NRL this year.
"I've never played against him but I've trained against him a lot and I've got massive raps on Jack Reed.
"He will be playing on my side of the field so I know he's going to be a handful. Hopefully we can contain him."
England coach Steve McNamara who, like Sheens, will announce his line-up on Thursday, will be tempted to field the same team for a third successive week after being encouraged by big wins over France and Wales.
Reed admits England will need to go up another gear or two but says the team will be driven by the prospect of securing a landmark victory.
"We were a bit rusty against the French but we worked on that against Wales and there is still a fair bit of improvement in us," the 23-year-old said.
"The main thing is to go set by set with them, compete as long as we can and stay in the match. Hopefully we can get there in the end.
"It could be the turning point for British rugby league, to show we're real contenders. The confidence is there so this could be the year."