January 20, 2021

Inglis on mental health and asking for help

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Jenna Brooks

NRL Expert @JennaBrooks

Greg Inglis, who earned 39 caps for Australia and won NRL Grand Finals with South Sydney and Melbourne in his career, has arrived in the UK ahead of coming out of retirement to play for Warrington Wolves in the 2021 Super League season. On Wednesday, he spoke to Sky Sports Rugby League.

Last Updated: 14/01/21 1:37pm

Warrington Wolves signing Greg Inglis chats mental health and future ambitions with Sky Sports Warrington Wolves signing Greg Inglis chats mental health and future ambitions with Sky Sports

Warrington Wolves signing Greg Inglis chats mental health and future ambitions with Sky Sports

Warrington Wolves’ new addition Greg Inglis speaks exclusively to Sky Sports Rugby League’s Jenna Brooks about his stellar career in Australia, his mental health and future ambitions…

Many regard him as a future immortal. As one of the greatest to ever play the game. He is Rugby League royalty.

Greg Inglis has won World Cups, State of Origins and Grand Finals. In 2021 his goal is to add a Super League title to his impressive resume.

Inglis shocked the world in April 2019 when he announced his retirement, admitting he had fallen out of love with the game.

As time went on, Inglis openly spoke about his battle with mental health and has admitted to Sky Sports that had he asked for help sooner, he would still be playing in the NRL.

“When I announced my retirement that was one of the biggest challenges I did have and then through that year I ended up going back into rehab and dealing with that situation,” Inglis told Sky Sports.

Despite a trophy-laden career, there was a shock in 2019 when Inglis announced his retirement at the age of 32 Despite a trophy-laden career, there was a shock in 2019 when Inglis announced his retirement at the age of 32

Despite a trophy-laden career, there was a shock in 2019 when Inglis announced his retirement at the age of 32

“I wasn’t willing to openly talk about anything. I would walk into training or be around the boys and put a mask on, saying ‘look everything’s alright.'”

“If I had been more open and honest about my struggles back then, then I probably would still be playing in the NRL.

“But it wasn’t to be, and I kept the shield up, kept the wall up and just didn’t speak about it.”

Inglis, who turns 34 on Friday, won NRL titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014 Inglis, who turns 34 on Friday, won NRL titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014

Inglis, who turns 34 on Friday, won NRL titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014

Almost two years on, the former South Sydney and Melbourne Storm star will pull his boots on and return to battle for one last hurrah playing for Warrington.

“I think the biggest challenge for me will actually be between my ears, the voices in your head, whether or not you can keep doing it,” Inglis said.

“When I was playing, before every season kicked off, I would always get nervous even at trial matches. Just voices, asking myself questions, having a little bit of self-doubt about ‘have I done enough to be here?’

“I think it’s more between the ears that can defeat you.”

Inglis has come out of retirement to play for Warrington in the 2021 Super League season (Credit: Warrington Wolves) Inglis has come out of retirement to play for Warrington in the 2021 Super League season (Credit: Warrington Wolves)

Inglis has come out of retirement to play for Warrington in the 2021 Super League season (Credit: Warrington Wolves)

Inglis, who arrived in the UK last week, has already met and trained alongside his new team-mates and did admit that there was one other small challenge he was facing. The accent.

“Some I can understand, some I can’t. I spent nine years with Sam Burgess and the twins, George and Tom.

“I couldn’t really understand them, it took me a couple of years to understand them,” Inglis joked. “But I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.

“Once I find my feet, I just want to give my best and really add value to the team and do whatever I need to do to help the boys.”

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Inglis was officially unveiled as a Warrington Wolves player on Wednesday where he spoke to Jenna Brooks

Inglis was officially unveiled as a Warrington Wolves player on Wednesday where he spoke to Jenna Brooks

Inglis, who turns 34 on Friday, has played at full-back, centre, in the halves and on the wing. So where does he see himself playing in Super League?

“I still don’t know yet, I don’t think Pricey’s (Steve Price) made up his mind yet either.

“We have two really good full-backs there; centre will probably last me the season.”

Wherever he plays, the 2009 Golden Boot winner did make one promise. He wouldn’t be pulling on the Queensland or Australia jersey again.

In 2001 Alfie Langer was playing for Warrington when Queensland coach Wayne Bennett asked him to come home and play for the Maroons, a call he answered and helped guide the team to a series win. Inglis says he won’t do the same.

“I can’t do an Alfie. Alfie Langer is one of a kind. He can pull that stuff off.

Inglis confirmed he will not do 'an Alfie Langer' and play for Queensland again Inglis confirmed he will not do 'an Alfie Langer' and play for Queensland again

Inglis confirmed he will not do ‘an Alfie Langer’ and play for Queensland again

“I left the Origin arena and representative arena on a good note and I don’t want to go back and possibly tarnish the legacy that I left.

“That rep side has gone; I’m just focusing on getting my body right.”

If the Aussie legend is successful in achieving that, then Rugby League fans around the world could be in for a treat.

Inglis played for Australia as they won the 2013 Rugby League World Cup Inglis played for Australia as they won the 2013 Rugby League World Cup

Inglis played for Australia as they won the 2013 Rugby League World Cup

When I asked if his iconic goanna try celebration would also be coming out of retirement, he responded with a laugh:

“Yeah it is, but looking at this weather, it will probably turn into a slug.

“I think it has become part of me, and I can see the joy it brings to the kids and the fans.

“If I can give something back and make people enjoy Rugby League again. If that’s one little thing, then I’m happy.”