Inglis ready to sacrifice $1.5m in early exit
Rugby league superstar Greg Inglis is expected to call time on his illustrious NRL career - and cop a $1.5 million salary sacrifice so not to burden his club South Sydney's salary cap going forward.
While close friends have bunkered down and refused to give any indication on what Inglis' final decision will be, the expectation is that the wounded 32-year-old champion has lost his desire to play on.
Inglis will meet this morning with Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett along with general manager of football Shane Richardson and chief executive Blake Solly.
Bennett would not comment when contacted on Sunday, while Inglis' best mate and former Maroons teammate Justin Hodges also declined to talk out of respect.
Other friends have been encouraging Inglis during the last week to give himself more time before he makes his decision final.
But there is a feeling Inglis has already come to the realisation that he can no longer put his battered body through the constant punishment it takes to play at the elite level, especially given the chronic shoulder injury and constant knee complications that have plagued him for many years.
The Daily Telegraph was told on Sunday that Inglis was ready to turn his back on the remainder of the contract money owed to him by Souths, which would be proof his decision was not being motivated by money. Instead Inglis is contemplating taking on a part-time ambassador-type role at the Rabbitohs.
It is understood there have been top-level discussions in recent weeks to ensure Inglis is not lost to the game if he does retire, and his transition into the next phase of his life is being approached with compassion given his massive service to the sport.
One of the most decorated players of the 21st century, Inglis hasn't played since he was injured in round two against St George Illawarra.
Damaging at both centre and fullback in club and representative football, Inglis made his name as Melbourne began their dominant era in 2006 and remained part of the Storm's success until forced to leave amidst the salary cap scandal.
He landed at Redfern desperate to end the Rabbitohs' title drought, doing so in the 2014 grand final as he scored the final try and sent the burrow into delirium.
His current try-scoring tally stands at 149 in 263 games, his most recent coming as part of a double against Melbourne in last year's finals series. He was just as dominant at representative level, forming arguably the greatest centre-wing combination in State of Origin history with Darius Boyd on Queensland's left edge.
There he scored the majority of his 18 Origin tries, while also crossing the line 31 times in 39 Kangaroos appearances.
The NRL would look favourably on any role the Rabbitohs offered Inglis, as long as it remains within salary cap guidelines. For that to happen Inglis would be on a massively reduced wage, in line with what other former players earn in similar roles.
The way NRL player contracts work, Inglis is entitled to all of his money for the remainder of 2019 and 2020 under the recent collective bargaining agreement.
But if he is paid that money it has to go on Souths' salary cap, and that is a burden Inglis is said to be struggling with given he doesn't want to leave his teammates or his club in the lurch.
Inglis is on a reported $1 million-a-season at Souths but has been paid six months of his 2019 contract so far.
As well as taking on a role at Souths, the NRL would be keen to make sure he stays a part of the game, and his standing within the indigenous community would obviously be taken into account.
Bennett has maintained that the club was not trying to push Inglis into retirement but said it was ultimately up to Inglis to decide his future.
There has been great concern for Inglis for some time given his mental health struggles and also because of the toll rugby league had taken on his body.
Inglis is one of the most respected of his generation and everyone in the game wants him to be remembered as a champion, not see his legacy potentially ruined by the struggles of recent months.