‘My body hasn’t given up’: Greg Inglis announces retirement, says he went out on his terms
NRL legend Preston Campbell has described retiring star Greg Inglis as a ‘giant’, but has warned the former Queensland captain of the emotional pitfalls of retirement.
- Preston Campbell said Greg Inglis was ‘so valuable to communities’ around Australia
- Campbell said Inglis will need to work on changing his identity
- Inglis retired from rugby league on Monday, having played 264 NRL matches
Inglis announced his immediate retirement from the NRL on Monday after failing to recover from a serious shoulder injury.
Speaking to ABC Grandstand’s Andrew Moore, Campbell urged Inglis to pursue a career in community service after his retirement.
“Rugby league is a great way to make some changes in society and Greg has been able to do that as a rugby league player, with his attitude,” Campbell said.
“If you’ve got a profile in the game it gives you a platform to talk about things that are really important to you, and there’s a lot of pressing issues in our communities, not just Indigenous communities, all of Australia.
“The legacy [Inglis] is going to have going into his after-footy career, I think he could make plenty of change in community — not just for the Indigenous people, but for the whole of Australia, but he needs to be ready for that.”
Campbell, who founded the Preston Campbell Foundation to provide mentoring and programs to Indigenous people, said Inglis’ standing in the game gives him the platform to effect significant change.
“He was a giant in the game and sometimes he is going to feel like a small fish,” Campbell said.
“He’s going to have to remember again that there are so many people out there who want him to be successful.
“He’s so valuable to community, but he’ll be so valuable to the game as well.”
“We’ve had a couple of really, really big players that have finished up in the last couple of years, guys like JT [Johnathan Thurston] and Sam Thaiday that are doing some great things, but Greg I think is one of those guys [whose] after-footy career is to work in community, so I’m looking forward to see where he goes.”
Although Campbell was confident that Inglis could make a success of his career after football, he acknowledged that it would take some time to change his identity.
“For the last over a decade he’s been concentrated on being a rugby league player,” Campbell said.
“You spend enough time in anything and whether it’s rugby league or whether you’re a janitor or banker, you spend enough time in it, you become this person, you have this identity and that’s how you identify, and then all of a sudden it stops, and you have to become something else.
“It takes time. Time can be your friend, but it can be your foe as well.
“It’s just a matter of him knuckling down with his new career and making sure that he knows there are people around him.
“The more he puts his head into his new direction, his new career, I think that’s going to help him.”
Preston Campbell (left) played for the Indigenous All Stars alongside Greg Inglis in 2011. (AAP: Patrick Hamilton)
Campbell said that his own experiences in helping in the community helped him after his own retirement.
“I love doing [contributing to community],” Campbell said.
“It takes a little while to transition into a new phase of life, and community were able to help me out in that area.
“The more work I put into community, the more I felt like I was supported, and they just had my back, I felt like there was a balance.
“I think for a lot of footy players like myself there were some regrets, doubts of feeling like you pulled up a little bit early … but time told it was the right decision for me and I think that will be the same case for Greg as well.”