Nambucca Valley claims Greg Inglis as their own

GREG Inglis is now a household name many have come to know and love over the years – and it’s none more so than to the residents and football fraternity in the Nambucca Valley.

A young Greg Inglis, (full)back row, second left

A young Greg Inglis, (full)back row, second left

The former Bowraville Tigers junior played a major role in the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ 24-point win over the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in Sunday’s NRL grand final.

Inglis’ match highlights included swerving and bustling his way past seven defenders in a 50-metre gallop, and with the game on the line producing the most important kick for Kirisome Auva’a’s try. He even managed his own four-pointer in the 80th-minute – which led to his goanna dance celebration.

Inglis had ‘won’ two previous premierships with Melbourne, both of which were later stripped when the club was found guilty of massive salary cap breaches, but nothing can take this one away from him.

“They’ll never take this one away from me,” Inglis told Fairfax Media. “Circumstances unfolded, it’s just the way it was. In the end I’ve got one. Words cannot describe the feeling I had [on Sunday night].

“Being at such a rich-history club, to walk away with a grand final victory, officially, is remarkable. 

“I’m overjoyed by the fans that turned out ... 43 years was a dry spell but to bring that trophy back to Redfern ... I’m extremely proud. 

“It’s been a big year for me and the rest of the boys. This is what we’ve wanted to do. The last two years hurt us really bad but we just dug deep and really dug in tonight.”

Former Bowraville Tigers president and current director of coaching Danny Doolan said from a young age, they (the club) knew Inglis “was something special and would become a superstar in rugby league”.

“Greg is a freakish talent,” Doolan told the Guardian. “He was always tall and lanky when he was young, so you knew he was going to grow into a superb athlete.

“His Bowra junior rugby league upbringing and country rugby league is always a great stepping stone to NRL – they breed them tough in the country.”

Inglis would score, on average, 50 tries a season in his junior games with the Tigers, and hasn’t stopped scoring points in the big league, celebrating with his now trademark move.

“The goanna crawl is a way of Greg expressing his Indigenous heritage, and I know Greg is very proud of his culture,” Doolan said. “I think every Bowra Tigers player will be trying to do the goanna now.”

The standout fullback is both a State of Origin and Kangaroos star and a future Immortal in many people’s eyes – including teammate Lote Tuquiri.

“He is a freak,” Tuquiri told Fairfax. “I’ve played with a lot of great players from [Allan] Langer, [Darren] Lockyer, [Wendell] Sailor, [Brad] Thorn, {Andrew] Johns, [Brad] Fittler. This guy can only get better. When he is fighting fit, he can do anything.

“You’ll have to ask me that at the end of his career [if he is better than those guys]. Those guys were out and out greats of the game. GI is in that category.”

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