Greg Inglis has been a great among greats.
Greg Inglis has been a great among greats.

Fittler shares great Inglis retirement regret

With Greg Inglis announcing his immediate retirement from the NRL, rugby league legend Brad Fittler has revealed his greatest regret from watching the star.

A rampaging fullback and centre, Inglis has long been the yardstick for an outside back in the NRL for more than a decade.

NSW Origin coach Fittler said the one thing he would have liked to see Inglis do is pull on a blue jersey in Origin after he was born in Kempsey on the NSW mid-north coast.

Such was his talent, Inglis was dragged into a State of Origin tug of war when he burst onto the scene with the Maroons winning the war.

"One of the great regrets is not watching him play for NSW, he's been such a brilliant player," Fittler told NSWRL.

"He's on everyone's highlights reel and I think we're all better off for watching him play."

Inglis scored a record 17 tries in 32 games in his Origin career, captaining Queensland last season.

"He was unique, he was the first one of his kind. Just the fact that he was 6 foot 3, 110kg, as fast as anyone on the footy field, could sidestep, could do it all so he was a prototype," Fittler said.

"If you think about his career he started on the wing at Melbourne and was one of the best wingers in the game. He went to centre, went to five-eighth, went to fullback and at that stage was the best player in those positions and the best player in the game at different times."

It was an emotional farewell from GI.
It was an emotional farewell from GI.

Fittler's tribute was just one of many that have come pouring in for Inglis, who claimed premierships at both the Storm and the Rabbithohs.

Rugby League legend Peter Sterling gave Inglis a huge compliment, comparing Inglis to one of the greats of the 80s.

"Last year, we saw in last year's Origin series that Greg couldn't physically do what he'd done for so many years but he still had a profound influence on that Origin series, just in a different way," Sterling told WWOS.

"He was just such a wonderful mover; when you look at the great movers in our game, there's a kind of poetry in the way that they do.

"I played with Brett Kenny and the way that he moved, the top half of his body was different to the bottom and Greg Inglis was something similar, the way he ran he looked like a 400m runner who could have done something at the Olympics."

Throughout his career, the rumour mill often spun that Inglis would go to the Brisbane Broncos.

When it didn't happen, supercoach Wayne Bennett came to Inglis at South Sydney.

"I made no secret of the fact that I wanted to coach Greg one day, and even though it was only brief, I've really enjoyed coaching him since joining South Sydney in December," he said.

"He has achieved so much during his playing career and I'm sure his name will be mentioned alongside the greats of the game in our history.

"Greg will be celebrated as one of the most talented players to have played our game. I think he can have as great an impact on the next group of players as a coach and I'm looking forward to joining him on that path."

Proof Inglis is loved in the community.
Proof Inglis is loved in the community.

Former Maroons and current Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said Inglis' legacy could be measured off the field as much as on the field.

"We all understand what a great player he has been, and what a great ambassador he is. But I'm very proud of the way he's carried himself over the course of his life," Meninga said.

"I've known Greg since he was 18. I love the person so much more than the player. He's developed an aura - when he walks into a room, people feel comfortable that he's on their side, and he makes other people around him better.

"He has obviously been a mentor for indigenous people but he has been and will be a mentor for all Australians. He will still make a difference to a lot of people's lives. That's a lasting influence."

Penrith Panthers and NSW Blues star James Maloney said Inglis was a one of a kind.

"He's a freak and has been like that his whole career. He's had a lot of success and I don't think there will be too many regrets. He's done everything in the game," he said.

"In a way it was always disappointing to lose Origin games but to lose against Queensland with him in their side and the calibre they had, it sucked losing but it was nice to have that opportunity."

Greg Inglis in full flight.
Greg Inglis in full flight.

Manly Sea Eagles second rower Joel Thompson said Inglis' passion during the indigenous All-Stars games, a team he captain twice, was a special memory which will be close to his heart.

"The way Greg led us through the indigenous All Stars war cry (in 2016-17), I'll never forget that," Thompson said.

"He'll go down as a great. He's a champion player and a champion bloke. I've seen his qualities away from footy too - like his involvement in the [indigenous] community, which has been great. We need guys like him doing that, and he's done it so well. I'm very lucky enough to say I played with him. It's been an absolute privilege."

Countless other players have left messages of support with several going to social media to farewell the legend.

 

 

The 2019 NRL season will be live and on demand on Kayo Sports for just $25 per month for two devices at once on Apple, Android and Telstra TV, for Apple and Google Android smartphones, on web browsers and via Google Chromecast Ultra devices. Click here for your free trial.

 

 

 

 

The 2019 NRL season will be live and on demand on Kayo Sports for just $25 per month for two devices at once on Apple, Android and Telstra TV, for Apple and Google Android smartphones, on web browsers and via Google Chromecast Ultra devices. Click here for your free trial.

News Corp Australia


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