Inglis’ Standing in the Game Grows
He is one of the greatest players the NRL has ever seen and now Greg Inglis is cementing himself as one of the game's truly great leaders.
At just 29 years of age Inglis's standing in the game continues to grow as he adds another representative honour to his name, captain of the Indigenous All Stars following the omission of Johnathan Thurston from Saturday's Harvey Norman All Stars fixture at Suncorp Stadium.
The South Sydney captain has always been known by his teammates as a leader but now players who are usually his opposition are discovering how inspiring the Australian and Queensland representative really is.
His Indigenous All Star teammates are experiencing first-hand what it is like to be captained by a player that has so often single-handedly taken victory away from them.
Indigenous All Stars and New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has witnessed Inglis carry Queensland to victory on many occasions. He says that working with Inglis this week has been an enjoyable experience that the team has relished.
"As you get older and as you play more footy you understand what a leader looks like and what you want to get out of the game," said Daley.
"He's really vocal around the group and is a guy that has got a lot of respect out there.
"He's one of those guys that when he talks everyone listens and that's good because he's developed into a really good leader and someone that the guys really enjoy playing with."
For many teammates this week it is the first time they have worked with Inglis.
It is an eye-opening experience for his roommate – Cronulla Sharks second row workhorse Wade Graham.
"It's the first time I've been in a footy team with him," said Graham.
"I've watched him from afar like every other rugby league fan for however long he's been killing it for so I'm really excited to get out there and play a game with him.
"Just to be around him this whole week and all the boys is amazing."
Leadership is something that comes naturally to Inglis.
On the field he is a warrior who leads his men into battle – off the field he is a community man who donates time and money to charity.
As a person, he is quick to put others before himself – a trait that all young men should look up to.
His passion and legacy is not lost on Indigenous All Stars teammate Joel Thompson.
"He's massive. He and I were two of the senior guys over at the leadership camp and him speaking about what he does and what he's passionate about and what legacy he wants to leave behind, he got some important messages across to the group and the young guys were in awe," said Thompson.
"You could see the way they were looking at him, when he speaks everyone listens and he's a great leader for the young guys and non-Indigenous kids as well.
"He's a good man."
Inglis motivates those around him to perform.
His teammates at Queensland believe they could not have won nine of the past 10 Origin series without him.
A man who has been a part of each of those is Sam Thaiday.
"Greg's responsibilities over the last few years have been building. The added responsibility that he's had at South Sydney has only helped him and his game," said Thaiday.
"Although his body may not be the freshest, he always brings an entertainment factor and breaks games off his own back. Without 'Jono' there you can see 'GI' has stood up immensely."
Perhaps the person that looks up to Inglis most is fellow Indigenous All Star Ben Barba.
Barba, like Inglis, has had his troubles in the past and both have overcome their demons.
Barba says he appreciates having the opportunity to work and learn under Inglis this week.
"We're pretty lucky that when we don't have 'Jono' playing but we can still have Greg Inglis in the side," said Barba.
"It would have been good if Jono was playing – the world's best player – but we still have Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday and Inglis.
"Those three share the leadership and Inglis is a real leader. A leader of men."
This story first appeared on NRL.com.