NRL 2019: Issac Luke's kind gesture of support to former teammate Greg Inglis

Spending four years alongside Greg Inglis left Issac Luke with nothing, but respect and love for the NRL star.

On Monday, Inglis retired from all rugby league, ending a stellar career that included 32 State of Origin caps, 39 tests for Australia and a premiership title with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Luke was part of that 2014 premiership triumph, albeit from the sideline, after copping a suspension in the previous week's semi-final.

The influential Warriors hooker told Newshub that he was close to tears, when he heard of Inglis' decision to retire after the close loss to Souths last weekend.

"I nearly teared up," Luke said. "I walked into their sheds just after he had told the team, but I didn't see him, so It would be good to catch up with him."

Luke credits Inglis for the huge turnaround at the Rabbitohs, who went from cellar dwellers to NRL contenders within one season of his arrival in 2011.

"He provided a lot of positive influence into the Aboriginal community of New South Wales and he made a huge impact on the team when he turned up.

"It was an unreal time and a great era. Just getting to play with him was amazing."

Luke and Inglis acheived premiership glory together in 2014.
Luke and Inglis acheived premiership glory together in 2014. Photo credit: Getty

Inglis has wrestled with a variety of personal demons that hindered his rise to NRL superstardom.

The 32-year-old was charged with recklessly causing injury to his now-wife Sally Robinson in 2009, while he has also dealt with depression throughout his career.

Luke reached out to Inglis last year, when his former teammate was stripped of the Australian captaincy for a drink-driving offence.

"I gave him my address and invited him to come over, have a week away, and spend some time at my house with the kids and his wife.

"He didn't take me up on it, but I just wanted him to know I was here if he needed me.

"I know yesterday was emotional for Greg and his family - it was a big shot for us and the rugby league community in general. He will be sorely missed in the game."

NRL 2019: Issac Luke's kind gesture of support to former teammate Greg Inglis

Luke missed the final quarter against South Sydney, as the Warriors blew a 12-point lead to lose 28-24. The Kiwis international suffered a head knock and wasn't permitted to return.

Despite a lack of direction costing the side in the dying stages, Luke doesn't think he would have made a difference, but he did acknowledge senior players needed to take the pressure off rookie halves duo Peta Hiku and Chanel Harris-Tavita.

"I don't think I am that important and I don't think the score really reflected our effort," Luke said.

"The boys took that loss right in the guts, but we know we can be better and will have to be this week.

"There were a few periods of the game where the senior players needed to step up, and help out Peta and Chanel. You know Chanel is very inexperienced and I think there were a few periods where we could have finished the sets off, rather than put that on him.

"We had even sets in the last 20 minutes and we only completed one, and that really builds pressure, if you are not playing a consistent, good brand of footy.

"There are a few things there that I would have liked to have changed, but I guess you could say 'should have, could have, would have'."

The Warriors host the Cowboys on Saturday night in Auckland.

Newshub

Join us for live updates of the Warriors v Cowboys from 7:30pm Saturday.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz