As though Friday night’s blockbuster clash against the Roosters couldn’t get any bigger, Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis will celebrate his 200th first grade game when he runs out onto ANZ Stadium at 7.55pm.
Inglis will step out onto the ANZ Stadium turf as one of the Club's many leaders on Friday night, but it was a tall and wiry looking 18 year old Inglis who made his first grade debut for the Melbourne Storm way back on the 16th of April 2005 at Melbourne’s Olympic Park against the Eels and scoring a try on debut playing from the wing.
Since that day, the man simply known as ‘GI’ has gone on to represent his people, his state and his country – becoming a mainstay in all the sides he has represented – while also collecting a string of awards at club, state and international level, including last year’s George Piggins medal alongside Captain, John Sutton. Inglis has scored 122 tries in his 199 games, also kicking nine goals and four field goals for a total of 510 points.
For Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire, Inglis’ achievement is significant given the level of dedication and sacrifice required of players in the modern game.
“It’s a great milestone for Greg,” said a proud Maguire.
“Any milestone of that calibre – it’s huge. To play one to ten games is hard enough in terms of the things that players have to do in order to achieve that – there’s a lot of sacrifice and dedication that goes into making a footballer.
“To play 200 is enormous and I’m sure his mum and dad, his wife and son – along with all of us – are extremely proud.”
Maguire admits that the signs were always there that Inglis had the potential to be a great player, but the Rabbitohs mentor stressed that while the Test star may at times make things look easy, it all comes down to hard work and the strength of character shown by the fullback.
“We definitely saw the potential of what he was going to become,” said Madge.
“Where he’s taken that has been fantastic to watch and that all just comes down to pure hard work and the time that he’s spent on his game and he’s still building on that.
“That’s part of his character – he’s always wanting to learn and wanting get better. I think that’s been a part of Greg ever since I met him. He’s always wanted to be the best.”
Inglis this year also earned himself the rare distinction of Captaining the Rabbitohs after John Sutton sustained a knee injury. For Maguire, GI’s installation as skipper was a natural progression for the fullback – solidifying his role as a leader within the Club.
“I guess over time as you move through your career, that’s what you become and that’s certainly the case with Greg,” said Maguire.
“The way he conducts himself not only on the field but off the field, it instils a lot in the culture that we’ve got here – he’s been a big part in that from day one since I arrived here. He wants the best for his teammates and the best for his team and his actions show that.
“He’s the type of player that everyone loves playing with because you’re just waiting for that moment when he’ll come up with something very special and you can’t help but become a fan sometimes, and when they do happen, I’ve just got a big smile on my face.
“The reality is that he puts a lot of work into those things and he himself has said that there’s still plenty more that he wants to achieve.”
Date of Birth: 15-01-1987
Position: Fullback, Centre
Rep. Honours: 29 Tests for Australia (2006-14); 24 State of Origin matches for Queensland (2006-14); World Cup (2008, 2013 - Champions); Four Nations (2009, 2011); Tri-Nations (2006); Two games for Indigenous All Stars (2012-13)
Junior Clubs: Bowraville Tigers, West Newcastle
Previous Clubs: Storm (2005-10)
FG Debut: Storm vs Eels, Olympic Park, 16 April 2005 (Rd 6)
Club Debut: Rabbitohs vs Roosters, Sydney Football Stadium, 11 March 2011 (Rd 1)
The Rabbitohs will be distributing 20,000 Greg Inglis face masks to mark his 200th NRL game, as well as 20,000 TRY cards to Rabbitohs Members and supporters coming to support the team on Friday night at ANZ Stadium.
Capital Training Institute is the Rabbitohs Membership Partner. Visit the CTI website by clicking here.