Greg Inglis: Warrington superstar 'GI' hoping to trigger success in Super League

By Dave WoodsBBC rugby league correspondent
Greg Inglis fends away Kevin Proctor while playing for Australia v New Zealand
Greg Inglis was a World Cup winner with Australia, and multiple Origin winner with Queensland

Greg Inglis says he has "fallen back in love with rugby league" having come out of retirement, and now wants to take Warrington to a new level of success.

The 34-year-old Australian superstar only arrived in England five days ago after signing a one-year deal with the Wolves.

But he's already planning on helping inspire his new club to silverware and says he is ready to peak again after two years out of the game.

"I had a chat with the boys yesterday. I'm here to add value to the team. I'm here to do my job," he said.

"The thing is the challenge. I love to push my body to the limit. I want to get back into the game and give it my all.

"Towards the end of the year I want to get the team to the big stage."

Inglis, one of the best players in the world throughout his career, has been capped 39 times by Australia and is a veteran of 34 State of Origin games with Queensland.

His initial retirement in April 2019 ended a 14-year career with Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs, which also brought him team and individual honours.

The iconic player - dubbed GI - initially cited ongoing injury concerns, but later revealed mental health issues and he admitted he'd lost his passion for playing.

So the rugby league world was stunned last May when the Wire announced that, just over a year later, one of the biggest names in the game had signed for them.

Reignited hunger and love

Greg Inglis celebrates a Queensland Origin try
Greg Inglis helped Queensland preside over years of dominance in Origin against NSW

Working with the young players at the Rabbitohs in the last year or so has helped reignite Inglis' own desire to play again.

And a chat with his former Souths' team-mate and good friend Jason Clark, who's been on the Warrington playing staff for the last two years, led to his move to the Super League.

"It was too good an opportunity to get back into the game," said Inglis.

"Getting back into coaching, that's when I fell in love with the game again. Just passing my knowledge on to younger generations coming through, the younger kids and even the older ones, really brought a smile to my face. I really did enjoy that.

"That's what drew me to wanting to put the boots back on. Jason had a massive part in it. It just started as a conversation. He just bought up about coming over to Warrington and next thing I was chatting to Karl [Fitzpatrick, Warrington's CEO] and chatting with the right people over here and six months later I'm here."

Inglis could have stayed in Australia with offers suddenly emerging from several National Rugby League sides once he'd revealed his desire to play again.

"Once they found out I was coming out of retirement with Warrington then I had some interest from clubs in Australia," he added. "But I stick to my word and I want to come and deliver with Warrington.

"I'm here now and that's all I'll solely focus on, getting my body right."

Speaking out about mental health

John Sutton and Greg Inglis embrace
Team-mates like John Sutton offered support to Greg Inglis when he decided to retire in 2019

For Inglis, speaking out publicly about his mental health - he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2019 and has suffered with depression - has helped with his rehabilitation back into the game.

"No-one knew besides myself what was going on," he continued. "And I wasn't willing enough or honest enough to talk about it. It wasn't until a couple of months after that I came out and spoke about it.

"That's just something that I'm passionate about. This is my own story and I'm happy to share that.

"I have ups and downs from time to time, but I've got tools to deal with it and the people around me to understand how I am and how I go about things."

While the mental side is healthy, physically the versatile, powerful back expects a patient wait before he's back to his best.

"I won't be back to 100% until round five or six," he said. "That's what the expectation on myself is. I'm gradually going to build. It's been a long time since I've been out of the game."

Following in the footsteps of 'Alfie' Langer

Famously another Australian legend who signed for Warrington at the back end of his career, the scrum-half Alan Langer, impressed so much in England that he got a shock recall to the Queensland State of Origin side in 2001.

At 35 years of age, the diminutive Langer inspired the Maroons to a famous win in the series decider against New South Wales.

So, can Inglis go one better and push for a place in Australia's World Cup squad this autumn?

"No, not at this point. My sole focus is to get my body right for the season ahead for Warrington," he said.

"If that comes out at the back of the year and the opportunity arises, then I'll sit down and have a chat with the people around me and we'll reassess from then."

Greg Inglis
Greg Inglis with the Clive Churchill Medal from the 2007 NFL Grand Final as man of the match

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