Match-winning five-eighth Greg Inglis admits his finals series has been below par and is determined to “turn it on” against Manly in Sunday’s NRL grand final.
Stung by criticism of his recent form, Inglis says he’s hoping to silence the knockers with a big game.
“It’s not up to my standards, I haven’t produced the best footy I can and hopefully I can turn it on this weekend,” said Inglis, who last year won the Clive Churchill Medal.
“They’re (critics) always there, hiding in the shadows and waiting for someone to slip up or put in a bad performance.
“The only way you can get them is to go out and perform week in, week out.
“I’m not one to like the media or put my head in the paper so hopefully if I get it all done I won’t be in there as often.”
He wouldn’t go as far to predict another man of the match performance and said winning the award was as much a team contribution as an individual one.
One of the game’s superstars, Inglis has the ability to light up a stadium in a big game, such as the grand final or this year’s second Origin match.
“People say I’m a big game player but I like to consider myself each week to be that player, someone your teammates want to play with.
“I enjoy it, I enjoy the challenge, I enjoy the atmosphere and when you get that first touch and get the nerves out of your system, the rest can take of itself,” the 21-year-old said.
Inglis has struggled with a knee problem that Storm high performance manager Mary Toomey attributed to “growing pains” and said was manageable.
He today dismissed talk he was any chance of missing Sunday’s big game.
“The body’s holding up fine. It’s all sweet to go, I’ll definitely be taking to the field injury free.”
He was unsure of what had been behind his quiet form, but felt his team-mates appreciated the effort he had been putting in.
“I can’t really put a finger on it.
“I think I’ve been doing the little things right instead of the big things that you would normally recognise but I’m pretty sure my teammates would notice the little things that go on.”
Inglis said his team was well aware of the pain that Manly would have felt after last year’s grand final loss, the Storm experiencing the same emotion after their 2006 defeat by Brisbane.
He expected the Sea Eagles would be using that loss as motivation.
“They would have been shattered,” he said.
“Obviously we lost in `06 and we were in the same position and I’m pretty sure they will come out all revved up with their hearts on their sleeves.
“They’ll use that very much as motivation.”
While Inglis completed the team training before signing autographs for the 1000 Storm faithful who turned up for fan day, prop Jeff Lima trained solo.
Toomey said he was a certainty to start at ANZ Stadium and had been given light duties over the last few weeks to rest a knee injury.
Skipper Cameron Smith, who will miss the decider because of his two week ban, also trained with the side.
“I’m trying to help the boys and be as positive as I can around the place,” Smith said.