The Courier-Mail

GI will resist NFL lure to remain a red-hot Rabbitoh

- PETER BADEL NICK WALSHAW

GREG Inglis has ruled out defecting to the Broncos, European rugby or the NFL, with the Maroons ace devising plans to finish his career in the NRL at South Sydney.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Inglis has closed the door on a career swan song under Wayne Bennett at the Broncos, who will face his Rabbitohs outfit at Allianz Stadium tomorrow night.

In a huge boost for NRL bosses, Inglis will shun offshore opportunit­ies and the prospect of emulating Jarryd Hayne’s NFL heroics to cultivate his iconic status in league.

There were fears Inglis could be lost to the NRL when the Origin star attracted interest from European rugby clubs Bath and Toulon this year.

In 2010, Inglis was offered trials with NFL clubs Denver and Buffalo – and leading NFL recruiting agency OzPunt says it could deliver him to America “tomorrow” if he wanted to follow Hayne’s path.

But Inglis’s manager Allan Gainey says the Souths skipper will stay loyal to the NRL after seeing the manner in which Broncos legend Darren Lockyer has carved out post-football opportunit­ies.

“Greg is a rugby league boy, he won’t be leaving the NRL,” Gainey said.

“Greg has too much going on here in the NRL.

“He has a number of sponsors and he’s setting himself up for post-football right now.

“Greg wants to remain in rugby league and be like Dar- NRL boss Dave Smith has been urged to embrace Haynemania, or risk having it hijacked by the NFL.

Already under fire for his handling of the TV broadcast deal, Smith is being urged to “get ahead of the Jarryd Hayne story” as the San Francisco 49ers hopeful goes global.

US league pioneer David Niu describes the publicity and exposure Hayne could generate for rugby league as “immeasurab­le’’. “Think about it,’’ Niu said. “Over here in the NFL, every game of every round is like an NRL grand final. It’s that big.

“So if Hayne makes it, his story could end up bigger than anyone can imagine. Better, the marketing opportunit­y he provides the NRL comes at mate’s rates ... absolutely free.

“But they have to handle it the right way, right now. Otherwise, it might be out of their hands once the NFL ren Lockyer, who has built his brand through his achievemen­ts in the NRL.

“If Greg went to European rugby or the NFL, that would jeopardise his image and his post-football opportunit­ies.”

Inglis is contracted Souths until the end of 2017.

There were suggestion­s he could finish his career at the Broncos after he bought a home in Brisbane last year.

The Test flyer has a history with Brisbane, having reneged on a handshake deal in 2010. But Gainey said Inglis would not be a Bronco, claiming his best hope of a move north was if the NRL expanded with a fourth Queensland team.

“I’ll be honest, the Broncos couldn’t afford Greg and he has no intention of going there,” he said.

“If a new Queensland team came in and they made Greg a massive offer to be their marquee player, he might consider it. But Greg won’t be going to the Broncos.

“His parents are currently living in that house (in Brisbane) but he and (wife) Sally bought it as an investment property ... Greg has bought another property in Sydney as well.”

Gainey confirmed Inglis’s NFL dream was over.

“They can make all the noises they want, but Greg won’t be following Jarryd Hayne,” he said.

to comes knocking Down Under.

“If I was in charge of the NRL I’d have my top football man leading the charge to get in front of this story.”

A former first-grader with St George, Niu moved to the US in 1993 and establishe­d the American National Rugby League (AMNRL).

Niu wants league officials in both countries to benefit from Hayne’s journey.

“Already, Jarryd’s impact here in the US has been significan­t,’’ he continued.

“You can bet your last dollar every general manager is now going to look across the ocean and find out who else might be able make their roster better ...

“Remember, the NFL and NRL don’t directly compete with their seasons. So who knows, there may be a pathway there. Each way.

“Hayne’s journey certainly opens up a whole world of possibilit­ies on both ends of the spectrum; from new players and fans, to global sponsorshi­p and TV contracts.”

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia