Greg Inglis, one of rugby league’s most decorated players, has announced his immediate retirement from the game after a string of injuries and other off-field battles.
He had previously said he planned to retire at the end of the 2020 season, but after meeting club officials on Monday morning, decided to hang up his boots.
He set the tone for his glittering career by scoring a try in his NRL debut for Melbourne Storm in 2005, and went on to play 263 top grade games for that club and South Sydney.
He also scored in 18 State of Origin tries in 32 matches for Queensland, and played 39 Tests for Australia.
But in recent times, the 32-year-old’s body has struggled to keep up with the rigours of being a professional athlete.
Inglis missed most of the 2017 season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee just eight minutes into the opening round, before he played on for almost another hour.
His 2018 season was also plagued by a shoulder injury that he had, up until now, managed with painkilling injections.
Recently, South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett banned Inglis from using the painkillers out of fear of the long-term damage he was doing to his shoulder and his health.
Inglis made the announcement at a media conference in Sydney on Monday and said he had been thinking about retiring for a while.
“This is no retirement due to mental illness or injuries or anything,” he said.
“I just think it is time and the right decision for myself and I have been contemplating it for a while now.
Inglis was Queensland’s State of Origin captain, despite having grown up in the NSW town of Bowraville near Kempsey.
He was stripped of the Australian captaincy in October after he was caught mid-range drink driving just hours after being named to lead the side.
He escaped a conviction for the offence in court in January.
“My body hasn’t given up on me but I think it is time for me and the right decision for myself and now I can get to go back and just enjoy life, be around Redfern here, be around the club, and get to look after my four horses that I have now,” Inglis said.
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett said he was “really pleased” for Inglis.
“It’s the hardest part, I think, of a footballer’s life, is to get to that point, to know when your time is up,” he said.
“When you don’t have the passion for it that you need for it, and sometimes, you know, we do play a year too long, stay a year too long. But in Greg’s case, that’s not going to happen.”