STATE of Origin's greatest try-scorer Greg Inglis is still driven by words spoken to him as a young player by Arthur Beetson.
Beetson, the first indigenous player to captain Australia during his 29 Test career, died of a massive heart attack while riding his bicycle on the Gold Coast on December 1, 2011.
A bronzed statue was recently erected at Suncorp Stadium alongside those of other Queensland legends Wally Lewis, who played with him in the first Origin game, and Darren Lockyer, the holder of the record for the most Origin games played.
Queensland will honour Beetson's memory and contribution to the game next Wednesday night by retiring the No.11 jumper he wore in the very first Origin game at Lang Park in 1980.
Inglis, who credits Beetson for steering him in the right direction as an impressionable teenager, spoke openly to APN about the close relationship they shared and the respect and love he had for the man known in rugby league circles simply as "Big Artie".
"People may not know it but I had an extremely close relationship with Arthur," said Inglis whose 15 tries is the most by any player in Origin history.
"When I was a young kid playing for North Devils, Arthur spoke to me, not just about football but about my life in general and my goals.
"We became very close as my career moved forward.
"I can still hear his words of advice and I continue to have a good relationship with his family as much as I can and I also try and put as much as I can into the Artie Foundation."
Inglis said no Queensland player would wear Beetson's No.11 jersey in game one next week as a mark of respect in the 100th Origin clash between the states.
"It's like retiring Michael Jordan's singlet at the Chicago Bulls," he said.
"It makes a huge statement for rugby league, especially in State of Origin."
Queensland had its first training hit-out yesterday on a make-shift field at its luxurious Gold Coast base at Sanctuary Cove.
There were some initial concerns when fullback Billy Slater and centre Justin Hodges missed the morning field session but coaching staff later confirmed the duo were were 100%.
Inglis played down expectations on him to be Queensland's strike weapon and add to his 15 tries, all scored during the Maroons unbeaten eight-series streak since Mal Meninga took over as coach in 2006.
"Those things (tries) come from the players inside me," Inglis said.
"Origins are won on the back of your defence, it's no different to looking at teams who win premierships and that's my job as much as scoring tries."
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