NRL: Superstar Greg Inglis announces immediate retirement from rugby league

Greg Inglis.
Greg Inglis. Photo credit: AAP

For a bloke who couldn't lift his arm above his head, Greg Inglis looked like he had the weight of the world off his shoulders.

On Monday, Inglis announced his immediate retirement, ending the 15-year career of one of the greatest rugby league players of his generation.

"What a career," Inglis told a packed media conference at Redfern Oval. "It's been an incredible journey. 

"I'm happy with my decision."

The sudden ending, more than a year earlier than previously planned, came after an injury-dogged start to the NRL season and the South Sydney captain had been sidelined, since aggravating a chronic shoulder problem in round two.

The 32-year-old test and Origin great refused to pin the decision on his ailing body, which has also had persistent knee troubles, although he felt he couldn't lead in the way he used to.

"There's no retirement through mental illness or injuries or that," Inglis said. "I just think it's time and the right decision for myself.

"I've been contemplating it for a while now. I've come to terms with it."

Pressed on whether it was injury that forced his hand, Inglis said: "Nah, it wasn't.

"I've bounced back from ACL, I've bounced back from many injuries before.

"It wasn't that. The way I see it, if I can't go out 100 percent, I wouldn't be able to perform the best I can - that's what I expect of myself as a leader."

Inglis retires with 263 NRL games, playing in five Grand Finals and winning one premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014.

He also won two Grand Finals with Melbourne in 2007 and 2009, but both titles were stripped from the club, due to its salary-cap cheating.

Inglis played 39 t5ests for Australia and 32 State of Origin games, as he built a reputation as one of the most devastating attackers the game had seen.

Inglis informed Rabbitohs powerbrokers of his decision last Monday, but was given the week to return to his hometown of Kempsey and consider his position.

"The weight was off my shoulders, after spending time back home in Coffs Harbour and Macksville," he said. "I just knew then."

He told teammates after their game on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

And by Monday, a jovial Inglis, flanked by his family and teammates, announced that it was time to hang up the boots.

He joked about his new working hours at the Rabbitohs, where he would continue to be involved in the football department and their community work.

"It'll just be the morale that I'll miss in the sheds," he said. "Hopefully, I'll still get in there, talk shit, play table tennis, I'll have more time to do that now."

A relaxed Inglis had the media throng chuckling, when asked whether he regretted not accepting an offer to join Essendon in the AFL.

"If I went from the Melbourne Storm [salary cap] saga to the Essendon drugs saga... imagine going from there to that," he said. "I'm glad I didn't do that."

Inglis is understood to walk away from the final two years of his contract, meaning his salary won't be included in the club's cap.

"Money doesn't make you happy," Inglis said. "It's people around you that make you happy.

"Money doesn't drive you... I'm not money-driven."