Where Bellamy wants Inglis to finish his career

For the remaining two years of Greg Inglis's NRL career, his first coach Craig Bellamy knows the position he thinks will suit the South Sydney skipper best.

"Fullback. I've always thought fullback," Bellamy told NRL.com.

There's certainly an array of positions Inglis can manage superbly. He's won Dally M awards as five-eighth of the year (2008) and fullback of the year (2013) while also winning the RLIF (Rugby League International Federation) centre of the year (2009).

He won the Clive Churchill Medal with Storm in the 2007 grand final win over Manly at five-eighth – scoring two tries.

He won the 2009 grand final as a centre for Melbourne and the 2014 grand final with the Rabbitohs at fullback.

But for Bellamy, who gave Inglis his NRL debut in round six of 2005, GI really shines at No.1.

"Having said that, with us [Melbourne] we had good players in all those positions. So when he was a young kid we played him in different positions – that wasn't the plan at the time.

"But if we lost someone on the wing, we put GI in there; if we lost a centre, we'd put GI in there; and if Billy [Slater] was out for some reason, we put GI at fullback," Bellamy said.

"Playing all those different positions when he was young has really helped him understand the game really well. So when he's playing one position he knows what the other positions require from him.

"We didn't plan it that way but he had a great education on the game because of how many positions he could play."

In the early days though, I honestly couldn't see how he was going to become a NRL player

Craig Bellamy on a 15-year-old Greg Inglis

Case in point is Inglis's maiden season. He played 13 games: three on the wing, once at centre, five at fullback and four on the bench.

Inglis developed his versatility over the six seasons with Storm (2005-10), but Bellamy says there were a few things he arrived with as a teenager: his height, strength and that fend.

He was a student at Brisbane's Wavell State High School and playing with Storm's feeder club, the Norths Devils, when his future NRL career put down its roots.

"I can remember him coming down to camp when he was 15 or 16. He pulled out of the first session halfway through so it showed me he wasn't too fussed about training," Bellamy recalled.

"But in time he came to be able to complete a full session and ended up being a really good trainer.

"In the early days though, I honestly couldn't see how he was going to become a NRL player.

"But as a 17-year-old he was killing it in the Brisbane comp so we knew there was something special about him.

Greg Inglis during his debut season for the Storm.
Greg Inglis during his debut season for the Storm. ©NRL Photos

"He came to Melbourne at 17 and that's a tough age to be going to a completely different state, city, climate and environment. It wasn't a rugby league town like Brisbane so it was all new to him. It took him a little while to settle in, being so far away from his family.

"I made it a point to get a little closer to him to keep an eye on him. He was the youngest player we'd ever brought down to Melbourne. He handled it really well and that's why our relationship has been close from the start."

Inglis played his first 100 NRL games with Melbourne and Bellamy still smiles when asked his best on-field memory.

"Being able to run over people," the two-time premiership-winning coach said.

"It was amazing how he could do that at such a young age – probably because of the length of his fend and his strength.

"He's older now but he can still bulldoze people and then he's in the clear and gets into his stride.

"When he's in your team there's not too many better sights in rugby league than GI running in space.

"It's a horrible sight if he's in the opposing team."

And that's where Bellamy finds himself now. Inglis moved to South Sydney in 2011, where he has passed the 250-game milestone. Incoming coach Wayne Bennett says he intends playing Inglis at fullback.

"He has such a presence because of his reputation and what he's done in the game," Bellamy said of Inglis's Australia, Queensland and Indigenous jerseys.

"The thing that clicks with me is that incredible passion he has with his Indigenous people. Even though he's at the top echelon of our game he's never forgotten where he came from, the background of his people – I love that about him," he added.

"There's a whole heap of things I like about him, but I remember one story.

"He has always loved kids. He was like that way before he had his own kids. When we played Penrith in Adelaide one year, it was the Easter weekend and we played on the Saturday night.

"Some of the players brought their wives and families over. So the next morning, Easter Sunday, we're all waiting in the hotel foyer for the bus to come. 

"The bus turns up and there's no GI. About 10 minutes later he appears and he's got a big bag of Easter eggs. He gave them to all the kids. He'd been up the street buying Easter eggs."

Maybe it was fate that Inglis did end up playing for the Bunnies.