The question now is can Inglis manage the condition? Image: Matt King/Getty Images
The question now is can Inglis manage the condition? Image: Matt King/Getty Images

Inglis deserves support of league community

As South Sydney wait to see if will play on or retire, it is yet ­another example of why NRL ­players earn every cent they are ­afforded.

And forget what Inglis's potential retirement could mean to the Rabbitohs' salary cap, support for GI's personal wellbeing should be the only priority right now.

Everyone in rugby league says they want what is best for Inglis but let's hope it goes well beyond next week's headlines.

Wayne Bennett has granted Inglis extended leave this week as the champion struggles to come to grips with his uncertain future.

Make no mistake, there is a genuine concern that the 32-year-old may have played his last NRL game.

In no way is anyone at the club pre-empting what decision Inglis will make when he returns next week, or are they putting any pressure on him to make a quick call on his career so the club can move forward.

The Rabbitohs are privately hoping Inglis does return to the field and help them achieve their goals for the remainder of this season and next, after which he has already made a call on his career.

But the Rabbitohs also understand that this decision ultimately will come down to whether Inglis has the desire to continue playing, given the extent of the physical and emotional scars he has been struggling with for some time.

This is an extremely delicate situation for everyone involved.

For seven years now Inglis has had to play with severe knee problems, and the arthritis in his shoulder is said to be so bad that he can hardly lift his arm.

But the emotional toll the game has taken on Inglis is every bit as ­significant and concerning for those close to him.

The subject has been raised this week as to what this could mean to Souths' salary cap given Inglis has this season and next remaining on his ­lucrative contract.

Inglis has earnt the right to be paid out every last cent he is owed.

And it is the NRL's responsibility as much as South Sydney's to make sure that happens without it affecting Inglis's teammates.

Inglis has given his all to rugby league and if he decides to walk away he can knowing he will forever be one of the game's greatest.

But if he does make that call to retire, the support has to be ongoing, and it has to go beyond financial.

Andrew Johns spoke recently of the battles he went through following his retirement and we have seen the sad situations involving Luke O'Donnell and Jarrod Mullen.

The reality is that you hear so many more stories of lesser-known players who have gone through similar struggles as a direct result of the emptiness that sets in after the football has gone.

Inglis stood as tall as anyone for so many years but the reality is he is only human.

For those close to Inglis, that is the major concern right now.

Not the salary cap. And not what it will mean to the Rabbitohs' chances. They just want what is best for their mate.