BENJI Marshall hopes Bowraville legend Greg Inglis wonders why - not when - he should return to rugby league during his week-long NRL sabbatical.
South Sydney have given Inglis time off to recover from a shoulder complaint and stomach bug that have sidelined their superstar captain since playing the round two match against St George Illawarra.
Planning to retire at the end of the 2020 season, Inglis's future - and ability to see out 2019, let alone a 16th straight campaign next year - have become a hot topic of conversation.
Two years Inglis' senior at 34, Marshall has experienced first-hand what the Rabbitohs and Queensland State of Origin team's inspirational skipper is going through.
Wests Tigers' 2005 grand final hero and former world player of the year was at similar career crossroads after an ill-fated stint in Super Rugby in 2014.
But Marshall has revived his NRL career, firstly at the Dragons and Broncos and then during a second homecoming at the Tigers, and believes Inglis needs to find the right reason to play on.
"Everyone talks about Greg and the player that he needs to be but, in my case, all I thought about was I had to get myself right mentally," Marshall told Fox Sports' NRL 360.
"I had to be in the right frame of mind and have the motivation and work out why I wanted to play.
"So for Greg, rather than working out how to be the best player he can be, he needs to work out why he wants to play.
"He needs to sort out upstairs first and, once I came to terms with that, it really helped me."
Inglis took time out in 2017 to address his mental demons after suffering a season-ending knee injury before again breaking down physically early this year.
Marshall questioned whether Inglis was playing on for the right reasons this season and if the three-time grand final winner still had the belief.
"I was the same - I was doubting whether I was good enough and I wasn't training as hard as I used to and I'd forgotten what all those things were like," Marshall said.
"When I did a bit of soul searching and did the hard yards upstairs and got a bit of counselling, that really helped me.
"I got to the point where I felt like I was doing a lot of things to make other people happy.
"And then I got to the point where I wanted to play for myself and prove to myself that I was still good enough."
Australian Associated Press