Queensland coach Kevin Walters has left Maroons fans salivating at the prospect of Greg Inglis making an Alfie Langer-style State of Origin encore straight out of Warrington.
As if rugby league wasn't already buzzing over Inglis's shock comeback announcement, now Walters has earmarked a return to the game's biggest stage for the inspirational former Queensland skipper.
‘THEY DON’T CARE’: Referees undef fire in ugly NRL stoush
“He's going to deny it and say he’s not interested in playing Origin but the door is always open for GI,” Walters told Fox League Live.
Unlike most, Walters is not in the least surprised that the former world player of the year and three-times grand final winner wants back in.
“He hasn't left the arena how he would like to leave it and what a great signing for Warrington,” Walters said.
“There's so many great players in our game in our history but Greg, look back on the highlights reels, whether it was South Sydney with their first premiership in (almost) 50 years, and then the reign he had in State of Origin - he's Queensland's most-ever try-scorer.
“In all the great moments that Greg's had throughout his career, it's just amazing, and I'm looking forward to seeing him back not only for Warrington but for the mighty Maroons.”
With coronavirus pushing this year's Origin back to November, Inglis won't be available for Origin until 2021 - exactly 20 years after Allan Langer returned from Warrington, aged almost 36, to inspire the Maroons to a dramatic, series-deciding 40-14 triumph over NSW in Brisbane.
Walters backs Inglis to return for Queensland
In a quirky twist of fate, Inglis, who turns 34 next year, has also signed for the same English Super League club.
And Walters won't rule out a similar fairytale return to the Origin cauldron.
“He's obviously been a great player. The door is always open for great Queensland players. We never shut the door. That's been our way,” Walters said.
“We dragged Arthur Beetson out of Parramatta reserve grade at 35 years of age to lead Queensland out in the first-ever state of Origin, so that set the precedent for years to come.”
Former Rabbitohs premiership-winning teammate Sam Burgess believes if any player can match Langer's extraordinary Origin comeback, it's Inglis.
“There is no better big-game player. When the big games are on, Greg Inglis never missed. Greg at Origin time was a different beast,” Burgess said.
“When he became Queensland captain, that game in Melbourne (in 2018), he did everything possible to get Queensland over the line,” said the Maroons mentor.
“You could just see the inspiration in his eyes and his body language the whole week that he was just so proud to lead Queensland out.
“He was just amazing.”