Greg Inglis Tops Rugby League Week’s Top 100 Players Poll

By STEVE MASCORD
GREG Inglis can’t have had many more emotional periods than last week. 
After watching his former Melbourne Storm team-mates win a grand final, he walked into the office of South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson and signed a four-year contract extension. It must have felt like finally closing the door on a part of his life that included mostly cherished memories.
But as we meet Inglis, the 2009 Golden Boot winner, we break it to him that he has finished first in our second annual top 100 players poll. I explain that the voting was far from whimsical – in fact it was a time-consuming pain in the backside.
Sitting amid the pictures of past greats in the tunnel at Redfern Oval, he smiles.
“You serious?” Inglis says.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s one of those years …. I jumped back to to fullback and just took every opportunity that I had and ran with it. I worked on my game massively…..
“Assistant coaches ….  everyone involved in the football department really helped me along my way.”
Our list ‘only’ comprised 100 but there are more than 500,000 rugby league players in the world, last time someone tried to count. To be considered the best of all these would take some getting used to, even for an extreme egotist – which Inglis is not.
Greg admits it’s not the easiest thing to contemplate. “It’s just one of those things where you just have a good season. As a whole team (though), it wasn’t our year.
“In the end, I just go about my footy the way I do and pick up little things here and there. I think I’ve shown that throughout the year.”
Inglis’ answers are polite and personable but there are no grand statements. He’s one of those people whose statements trail off a little. You know how reporters put things in brackets in the middle of quotes to make them more easily understood? Sometimes with Greg, it’s hard to know what to put in the brackets.
Yes, watching Melbourne win the premiership on television had been a little bit of a wrench.
“It was a bit of mixed emotions – what happened with all that stuff years back and seeing them with the trophy up this year …..,” he says.
“Speaking to some ex-players this week, they wanted to see them with the trophy up and they did. It was a big week as well for myself, announcing the re-signing. I’ve re-signed for four years, I still had the one year there next year….
“Michael Maguire coming back from England and Wigan and coaching here, there’s a lot of Storm feeling around (Souths), just the way everything’s run and everything’s fun. I wasn’t here from day one but to come here when I first started, you can see the changes he made in the group and within the club itself.
“I was happy here … especially this year … I had a happy lifestyle away from the footy as well.”
As if things weren’t difficult enough for Inglis, part of Souths’ brave but unsuccessful finals campaign involved a trip to AAMI Park – and a heavy 24-6 defeat. “I think some of the boys were a bit over-awed by finals footy. There were a few there that had never played it before,” Inglis says.
“First up was Melbourne. That definitely shows you what semi-final footy is all about … going down there, losing to them, was heartbreaking but being out of the run to the (grand) final is heart-breaking as well. In the end it was a bit of mixed emotions…the whole finals series.”
When I ask GI what the turning point was, when he finally felt at home at Souths and put behind him the expectation of returning to Melbourne when the salary cap scandal blew over, he doesn’t have a specific answer.
“Getting a phone call saying they were chasing Michael Maguire, that was pretty much one of the biggest turning points,” he said.
“I just love the community here. I like being a part of the people and putting a smile on peoples’ faces. That’s something that you’ve got to do. You can’t always think about ‘footy, footy’. There are people out there with bigger problems than us. That’s just the way it is.”
The boys on the irreverent Fire Up! program, recorded just a hop skip and jump from where this interview is taking place, loved to refer to Inglis as the “Rolls Royce that you don’t take out for a drive every weekend”. All that changed with the switch to fullback. The ole’ Roller got a proper flogging!
“It wasn’t, I would say, frustrating,” he says of the days when his involvement wasn’t what people expected.
“Being a centre is a totally different role that you have to play within the group. Going to fullback, you’re not really stuck to one side. You’re free to roam. Being in the centres was … I wouldn’t say frustrating. You’ve got to think about your defence, the lines and that to run to create an opportunity for your fullback.
“Now, I’m relying on my centres and my second rowers to do that for me.”
It’s tempting to imagine how great Inglis can be, to look around these walls and see him up there alongside Churchill, Sattler, McCarthy, Piggins and the rest before too long. He doesn’t like that sort of talk. “It’s always good to have the past and know what the club is all about but we spoke about this as a group at the end of the season when we finished up – that that’s the past and we’ve got to create the future,” he argues. For Souths to go forward we really have to dig in for next year.”
As someone who has had to grow into the spotlight, rather than relish it, I ask him how he feels about the criticism players have received for their performances in public recently – most notably at the Dally Ms.
“I think it was the back page where they gave it to the players about their interviews and that, about ‘learn how to speak’,” he replies. “I thought it was pretty funny. All the interviews have been funny. All clubs have things in place where they can get media training and stuff like that. I can’t see why (you wouldn’t).
“It’s pretty hard on the night when heaps of teams are out, you’ve had a few beers and it’s like, shock. You don’t go in there prepared with a speech.
“You’ve just got to learn what to say and how to say it at the right time. That’s the big thing. Big Sammy (Kasiano), I think, is just overawed about the season he had.”
Moving to Sydney and being recognised in the street was a battle for Inglis. But he’s got a simple way of dealing with it. “Stay out of trouble and you’ll have no worries at all,” he smiles.
So, finally: when you are the best player in the world, what on else can you aim for next year?
“Probably just have a better season than what I did this year.”
Huh? JUST better than best in the world? “It’s a big goal but it’s something we spoke about, myself and the coach as well. There’s still glitches in my game where I can fix little things up.”
Jeez.

3 Comments

  1. Why wasn’t Inglis asked how he feels about being complicit in Queensland’s cheating every year for the past seven years? And whether he feels like a hypocrite every time he pulls on a maroon jersey, when he has zero affiliation with them?? When was the first time he even visited Queensland on holidays & how old was he??? These are the questions that people really want answered, but it was avoided. Soft.

  2. Haha this happens every year for the jealous nsw fans. The only people to blame for GI playing for qld is the nsw selectors. For some reason mainly because thee racists they dont pick aboriginals or players that should be picked for that matter. And you obviously dont know much about the game if you dont know that PLAYERS GET TO CHOOSE WHERE THEY WANT TO PLAY why do u think tamou and te’o can play origin???? Bet u had no questions when tamou was picked ur just a biased and uneducated on the matter. I was born and raised in sydney but its our own fault things are the way they are. I remember when tahu stepped out of the side because of the racist discusting comments made about greg and other players, it made me ashamed to be from nsw and made it all a bit clearer to why greg chose to play for qld. There just a far more laid back more welcoming state all u have to do is look at some law differences to realise that so I suggest u do some research or shut ur mouth before u start critizing someone over something u no nothing about

    1. So it is facts & research about Inglis & his eligibility that you want, is it? Here you go:
      Gregory Inglis was born on 15 January 1987 in Kempsey, New South Wales. He grew up in Bowraville, New South Wales. On 15 January 2003, he turned sixteen years old. Later that same year, he represented Hunter Sports High, Newcastle New South Wales in the Arrive Alive Cup Rugby League Cup competition (http://youtu.be/PJjQHdqP-5w).
      Later that same year, Inglis was recruited by NRL team Melbourne Storm. At the behest of their recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan, young Inglis was relocated from Newcastle to Wavell High at Gold Coast, Queensland. After leaving school & later playing in the Queensland Rugby League for Melbourne’s feeder team Norths Devils, Inglis was required to pledge his allegiance for State of Origin.
      State Of Origin Players — if they potentially have dual eligibility, under the previous rules (which have since been tightened) — are invited to select their Origin preference. Approval of their choice was governed by several criteria, including place of birth (in Inglis’ case: New South Wales), place of residence (Inglis: New South Wales), place of birth of one or both parents (Inglis: New South Wales & New South Wales) & place where the player FIRST played senior football — SPECIFICALLY; after the player’s 16th birthday — (yes, for Inglis, this is once again New South Wales).
      Players do not choose who they play for, except for those cases where they possess dual eligibility.
      This Origin document signed by Inglis has not been released to public viewing, however Inglis’s father Wade Blair has publicly stated (in Queensland media) that his son signed the form stating that his first senior football was for Norths Devils, Queensland (http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/why-greg-inglis-is-a-maroon/story-e6frepaf-1111116761552). Therefore, Inglis has deliberately lied by omission, as it is known that Inglis had first played for Hunter Sports High after his sixteenth birthday.
      Why a 16-year-old boy would lie about his history is only known to the people inside the room where it happened knows . It is however a fair guess that Queensland officials influenced him to do so. This is somewhat supported by published first-hand accounts (http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/06/07/greg-inglis-became-maroon/).
      After the Origin paperwork was submitted, it was required @ the time to be ratified by ARL, QRL & NSWRL officials. Without the knowledge that this schoolboy had lied (except perhaps by the QRL officals), this false eligibility was passed. Only a couple of years later (in 2006), Greg Inglis then was first selected to play State Of Origin for Queensland.
      All of this information is public knowledge. There have been many articles published explaining how Inglis was never eligible to be selected for Queensland, even under the dubious & changeable selection rules in place at the time (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-robbery-why-the-qld-7-0-streak-is-a-fraud/story-fni3fqyo-1226652148241).
      Therefore, by selecting Inglis in every series since 2006, Queensland have endorsed a lie & deliberately & knowingly cheated every year since 2006. And couting. Every series win since then is a fraud. And those are the facts.

      P.S. As for your disgusting racist bias claims; Nathan Merritt was today selected to play for New South Wales in Game II, 2013, replacing fellow Indigenous player Blake Ferguson. New South Wales Coach Laurie Daley (also Coach of Indigenous All-Stars) will no doubt welcome Merritt into the New South Wales team, to play alongside his Indigenous teammates Andrew Fifita & Greg Bird.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s