SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis takes a moment by himself before announcing his retirement from rugby league during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL media conference at Redfern Oval on April 15, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis takes a moment by himself before announcing his retirement from rugby league during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL media conference at Redfern Oval on April 15, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Inglis bombshell had Origin star in tears

Greg Inglis' retirement announcement has left rugby league fans with a brutal reminder that fairytale finishes don't happen for everyone.

The former Maroons skipper - who has battled ongoing injuries throughout the back-end of his career - eventually decided to call it quits on Monday, declaring his on-field career over effective immediately.

Inglis said the moment to give up professional footy was made clear on a recent trip home to northern NSW.

"Nan turned around and started laughing after she shed a tear and said 'you had to give it up some day'," Inglis said.

"After I flew into Coffs and got to the airport I just knew it was time.

"The weight was off my shoulders after spending time back home in Coffs Harbour and Macksville. I knew then."

Inglis retold the emotional moment he revealed the news to his team and playfully outed teary NSW hooker Damien Cook as "a bit of a sook".

"I told the boys after the game on Saturday.

"I couldn't look at Damien Cook, he started crying. He's a bit of a sook my little mate. I couldn't look at him, he was the first one. He started crying and I had to put my head down and look elsewhere.

 

"Most of the boys were pretty shocked. It'll be the morale in the sheds I miss the most."

It is understood Inglis walks away from the final two years of his contract, meaning his salary won't be included in the club's cap.

The 32-year-old Test and Origin great refused to pin the decision on his ailing body, which has also had persistent knee troubles, though he felt he couldn't lead in the way he used to.

"There's no retirement through mental illness or injuries or that," Inglis said. "I just think it's time and the right decision for myself. I've been contemplating it for a while now. I've come toterms with it." Pressed on whether it was injury that forced his hand, Inglis said: "Nah it wasn't.

"I've bounced back from ACL, I've bounced back from many injuries before. "It wasn't that. The way I see it, if I can't goout 100 per cent, I wouldn't be able to perform the best I can, that's what I expect of myself as a leader." Inglis retires with 263 NRL games, playing in five grand finals and winning one premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014.

The star centre was an icon for 15 years.
The star centre was an icon for 15 years.

New Souths coach Wayne Bennett described the outgoing star as one of the "finest players of his generation".

Inglis had the media throng chuckling when asked whether he regretted not accepting an offer to join Essendon in the AFL.

"If I went from the Melbourne Storm (salary cap) saga to the Essendon drugs saga ... Imagine going from there to that. I'm glad I didn't do that," he said. It is understood Inglis walks away from the final two years of his contract, meaning his salary won't be included in the club's cap.

"Money doesn't make you happy. It's people around you that make you happy. Money doesn't drive you... I'm not money-driven," Inglis said.

- with AAP

News Corp Australia


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