The last of Queensland’s golden generation is set to walk off into the sunset with Greg Inglis announcing he will retire from the NRL at the end of 2020 and 2019 will be his final year of representative football.
The South Sydney skipper on Friday put an end date on his illustrious career that has included 261 NRL games, three premierships, five grand finals, 39 Tests for Australia and 32 Origins for Queensland.
“I grew up loving the sport of rugby league, there is no other sport for me and I’ve been lucky enough to live out my dream,” the 32-year-old said.
“Therefore 2020 will be my last season of NRL football. By announcing this now it means I can focus on the job at hand here at South Sydney over the next two years.
“It will also be my final year of rep footy in 2019, if I’m fortunate enough to be selected, and I will give everything I have to the Australian and Queensland jerseys as I have throughout my career.”
Inglis’ Origin eligibility for the Maroons has been a point of contention south of the Tweed River given he was born and bred in Kempsey and only moved to Brisbane as a teenager after he joined Melbourne feeder club the Norths Devils.
But his feats in the Origin arena and contribution to Queensland’s eight-year reign of dominance mean he will be remembered as one of the state’s all-time greats
After the Maroons bid farewell to Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk over the last 12 months, it leaves Inglis as the sole remaining member of a generation of players whose feats are unlikely to ever be repeated.
It will also give Inglis a chance to regain the Australian captaincy after being stripped of the title in October last year.
After handed the honour by coach Mal Meninga, he was stood down after being caught drink driving without ever leading out the Kangaroos.
He will also be celebrated as one of the all-time great indigenous players and one of the game’s role models.
Inglis began his career with the Storm but was forced out at the end of 2010 following the club’s salary cap scandal.
A move to the Rabbitohs, and a shift to fullback, solidified his legacy after he played a leading part in their drought-breaking premiership in 2014.
He flagged the possibility of moving into coaching post-retirement and said he was committed to capitalising on the club’s premiership window under new coach Wayne Bennett over the next two seasons.
“For the next two years I’ll be giving everything I can to this great club,” Inglis said.