Following his shock signing with the Warrington Wolves, NRL great Greg Inglis has dispelled rumours his retirement in April last year was part of a salary cap cheating scheme with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
On Tuesday evening, the English Super League club revealed Inglis had come out of retirement and signed a one-year contract for the 2021 season.
Inglis announced his retirement from the NRL in April 2019 after a series of injury concerns. He still had 18 months remaining on his contract with the Rabbitohs, and although Inglis was not medically retired, he was paid out in full by the club.
Some NRL fans queried whether Inglis’ retirement was part of a cheating scheme to get him off South Sydney’s salary cap last year.
However, during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Inglis bluntly denied the rumours, asserting his retirement was not part of a larger ploy. The champion centre also revealed the NRL’s salary cap auditor and integrity unit had signed off on the switch.
“Someone’s always going to bag it,” Inglis said.
“They’re going to come up with their own conspiracy theory. The people involved in my retirement, and the way I’m coming back, they know the real story.
“We went down the right path. We didn’t use any loopholes. Everything was by the book. We went in a straight line, from A to B.
“They can speculate about how much I’m getting paid, whether by Souths or anyone else. I know what’s going on and that’s all that matters.
“The salary cap auditor signed off on it. The integrity unit signed off on it. There were no question marks over it. They rung me up and asked if this is what I wanted to do. I signed the documents, and that was it.
“I don’t care … I’ll leave those haters, those doubters, with whatever they want to think. I no longer care.”
Inglis played 265 NRL games after his debut with the Melbourne Storm in 2005. The 39-Test veteran also won a premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014 and was the Clive Churchill Medal recipient in 2007.
Approximately $900,000 of Inglis’ salary was included in South Sydney’s cap for 2019, and an NRL spokesman confirmed, “There are no additional salary cap implications for South Sydney.
“Greg Inglis was not medically retired and he has not re-signed with South Sydney or another NRL club.”
Inglis will continue working as a pathways manager at South Sydney until he leaves for England in December. Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly has thanked the 33-year-old for his ongoing contribution to the club.
“Greg has made a wonderful contribution to this Club, both on and off the field, and following our discussions with him, we believe it is in his best interests for him to resume his playing career with Warrington next year,” Solly said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We wish Greg the best of luck for 2021 in England and we look forward to seeing Greg around Redfern Oval this year before finishing his current tenure with the Rabbitohs at the end of this season.”
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Inglis is adamant his body will cope after a 13-month hiatus from the game, and is eager to get started on the next chapter of his career.
“I get to retire the way I want to retire … I get to finish on my terms, my way,” Inglis told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“When I announced my retirement, I definitely thought that was it. I was battling a lot of things in my own head; all the recurring niggles and injuries, over and over again. I didn’t think my body could keep going on for another season and play the way I wanted to keep playing. I couldn’t be the leader I wanted to be.
“Now, I’ve had a year off, my body’s fresh, I’m feeling healed and I get the chance to prove to myself that I’ve still got it.
“But the ultimate test will be running over there in the snow when I’m training. It will be different, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”