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Inglis to inspire South Sydney :Maquire

Greg Inglis' importance to South Sydney is obvious, but according to coach Michael Maguire, the biggest benefit in having the star fullback back on deck has no statistical measure.

"Bringing Greg back in brings a lot of confidence to the team and also a lot of experience as well," said Maguire, desperate to arrest the one-time premiership favourites two-game slide against Manly on Friday night.

"He's a great leader amongst the boys and the way he's developed in my time here is a real credit to him."

While halfback Adam Reynolds may be the brains and John Sutton the heart of a Rabbitohs side attempting to win the club's first premiership in 41 years, Inglis is clearly the pulse by which the Rabbitohs operate.

Greg Inglis: Getty Images
It was particularly telling during his four-week absence - when the Bunnies lost three games - that the side was a class below the other outfits in the top four considered genuine title fancies.

Other sides know his value too, as evidenced by the seemingly premeditated attack on the brilliant No.1 the last time he faced Manly, when three times he was dumped on his head.

It led to Maguire intimating he was concerned for the welfare of his star player.

The same concern prompted the coach to resist rushing Inglis back for last week's game against Melbourne, despite the obvious temptation to help get his side back on track.

"We've done a lot of testing and Greg's ticked off a lot of boxes along the way," Maguire said.

"I thought he could have played last week but we took that caution and made sure we've done everything possible to make sure he's ready.

"He's moved around, trained very well for the last week and he's really looking forward to playing and being back with the team."

The unexpected return of Sutton - who still has to pass a final fitness test on his injured ankle to play - means the clash against the Sea Eagles should indicate whether Souths are indeed slumping or just needed to get their star players back on the field.

Maguire seemed content that his group had the strength to push through the difficult stretch.

"It's a marathon," he said.

"We've gone through a tough time over the last few weeks but it shows the character in the team.

"Against Melbourne we showed some form and what we're capable of and we've just got to make sure we concentrate on the things we were doing, control the things we're capable of doing and play the way we can."

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