Greg Inglis has a blunt message for those questioning the motives behind his move to shun his native NSW in preference of Queensland: ''Just move on''.
Inglis's decision to represent the Maroons four years ago has been thrust into the spotlight this week, with details emerging that he was motivated by the belief that Queensland provided indigenous players with greater opportunities than NSW.
The revelations followed Andrew Johns's description of Inglis as a ''black c---'' in an address to NSW centre Beau Scott ahead of tonight's Origin II clash at Suncorp Stadium - a rant that prompted Timana Tahu to walk out on the the Blues training camp in protest.
Last night, NRL Indigenous Council board member Sol Bellear alleged that Johns had also described other Queensland players in derogatory terms.
The Kempsey-born, Bowraville-raised Inglis would not be drawn on the specifics behind his decision to represent Queensland - ''There's a long story behind it but I don't want to get into it'' - but told NSW in no uncertain terms he would not be changing his mind.
''They can whinge all they want to,'' Inglis told the Herald. ''In the end, I'm sticking to my colours and that's the way I am. I definitely think they should just get over it and move on. I hear they're still going on about it but I'm not changing my mind and I never will.
''I'm a Queenslander. There's no doubt about it. My family couldn't be happier. If they're happy with it, I'm even happier.''
The controversy surrounding Johns, Tahu and Inglis has provided a fiery backdrop to tonight's Origin clash - a match NSW must win to avoid a fifth consecutive series defeat.
Inglis, an unwitting component of the furore within the Blues' camp, moved to Brisbane as a teenager and was eligible for both states. Anthony Mundine, a close friend of Inglis, told the Herald this week that race was a motivating factor behind Inglis's final decision to represent the Maroons. The claim that NSW provided fewer opportunities to indigenous footballers
than Queensland was disputed by Geoff Carr, the chief executive of the NSWRL, but Mundine insisted ''[Inglis] wanted to play for Queensland because that is where they give the boys a go.''
Bellear, meanwhile, has spoken to members of Tahu's family and believes Johns's racist outburst extended beyond Inglis and involved more offensive slurs than initially reported.
''I spoke to senior members of Timana's family and that is my understanding,'' Bellear said last night. ''It wasn't just about Greg Inglis, either.''
Bellear urged other Blues players to speak out about Johns's rant, and called for an inquiry into the way NSW team management had handled the situation. ''This isn't a vendetta against Johns, this is a vendetta against racism,'' he said.
Johns's management last night refuted Bellear's claims.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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