Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has only one regret about Greg Inglis after watching the recently-retired South Sydney skipper achieve every accolade in Rugby League including premiership and State of Origin victories, World Cups, a Clive Churchill Medal, a Golden Boot and countless records along the way.
It’s fair to say Fittler’s regret is also shared by the population of NSW after Inglis was born in Kempsey but went on to become one of Queensland’s greatest-ever players under former controversial eligibility rules.
“One of the great regrets is not watching him play for NSW, he’s been such a brilliant player,” Fittler said.
“I remember sitting at Townsville in a pub having lunch and they had Greg Inglis’ tries one after the other, and we were all just sitting there amazed at how they were all scored from all different parts of the field, it was incredible athleticism.
“He’s on everyone’s highlights reel and I think we’re all better off for watching him play.”
Inglis started his NRL career at Melbourne and finished at Redfern, dominating for whoever he played with and whatever position he played in.
He was always a handful for the Maroons in State of Origin, and currently holds the record for the most tries in Rugby League’s greatest arena.
Given his height, size and strength never affected his athletic ability, Fittler believes Inglis is one of a kind.
“He was unique, he was the first one of his kind just the fact that he was 6 foot 3, 110kg, as fast as anyone on the footy field, could sidestep, could do it all so he was a prototype,’ Fittler said.
“If you think about his career he started on the wing at Melbourne and was one of the best wingers in the game.
“He went to centre, went to five-eighth, went to fullback and at that stage was the best player in those positions and the best player in the game at different times.
“He was always the most damaging person, if there was someone you didn’t want to tackle 10 metres out it was him.”
Inglis may have retired today but won’t be lost to the game after taking up an off-field role at the Rabbitohs.
However, we won’t see any more highlights like his ‘triple jump’ pass to Mark Gasnier in the Centenary Test or the amazing solo try at Suncorp Stadium in 2014, two moments that stood out as perfect representations of him to Fittler.
“That pretty much typified what he could do, just doing what he wanted, at the time he was fit and fast and made it look all so easy,” Fittler said.
“To watch him retire early, I’m not sure how his body is at the moment or it was because he’s had enough but we’re going to miss him dearly.
“He’s been great for the game and I’m sure he won’t be lost to the game; we’ll see him around the traps in a different capacity.”