Aussie legend Greg Inglis has "no fear of failure" ahead of Super League start

THE famous goanna celebration might turn into a “slug that crashes into a fence” given the English weather but - almost two years after retiring - Australian superstar Greg Inglis is fully confident of recapturing his best form as he arrives in Betfred Super League.

The legendary Queensland State of Origin centre, who played 39 times for the Kangaroos and was once named the world’s greatest player, was officially unveiled (via Zoom, admittedly) by Warrington Wolves today.

It was in May last year that the club announced the shock signing of one of the modern greats for 2021.

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Many sceptics might have thought Inglis, who turns 34 on Friday, might not actually arrive to take up his one-year deal, especially given Covid’s continued hold here and the fact he has been out of the sport for so long.

However, the former South Sydney star - one of the competition’s biggest-ever captures - has begun training and is looking forward to making his mark when Super League hopefully kicks-off on March 11.

Granted, there have been few finer sights in the sport in recent history than Inglis - the strapping, tall yet so elegant three-quarter - striding into space.

But having retired in April 2019 due to ongoing injury issues at Souths, does he fear being unable to recreate such iconic moments and risking his hard-earned reputation as a prince of the sport?

“I don't have that fear, because I know what I'm capable of,” insisted Inglis, who, just a few months after that retirement, was also diagnosed with a Bipolar II disorder, following another stint in rehabilitation for alcohol problems and depression.

Greg Inglis, right, with South Sydney team-mate Sam Burgess after retiring in 2019. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“That's one thing that thrives me: the fear of failure.

“If I give back, it's going to take me five or six rounds to get back to my best but I know I can get there and hard work does pay off. That's a given.

“I've been out of the game for two years and it's about getting back on the bike, changing the oil, getting the tyres pumped back up and making sure the chains are still working.

“I’m happy with where I am but still got a fair bit to go to where I want to be at.

Greg Inglis performs his famous 'goanna' try celebration for South Sydney. (Photo: Getty Images)

“If everyone understands that and that I’m slowly, gradually building there - I’ve still got two months to go - I’m confident within a few weeks I’ll be back to where I want to be.”

Which prompted an obvious question about whether or not he will also bring back his trademark try celebration when he does get off the mark in Super League.

Inglis started mimicking the goanna lizard - crawling along the pitch after touching down - having made a promise to one of his cousins in 2014, the year he went on to win the NRL title with Souths alongside the four Burgess brothers.

“Over here, it depends how wet it is; it could turn into a slug that crashes into a fence!” he joked.

Australian superstar Greg Inglis has arrived at Warrington Wolves (PIC: Warrington Wolves)

“We’ll wait and see how it goes. I'll do my best.”

With the Exiles due to reform as well this year, to give Shaun Wane’s England side a long-awaited outing this summer, there is also the enticing prospect of Inglis perhaps lining up with them.

“I didn't even think about it,” insisted the player, who is yet to find out if he will be deployed at centre or full-back for the Wire.

“If my body is right and it comes around .... I'm not too sure.

“I'm always about Australia and being Australian and I don't know if I want to help the English out in a World Cup year!

“I think it’d be something you'd be tempted to look forward to.”

A two-time Dally M winner as the best player in the NRL, Inglis also won two Grand Finals with Melbourne Storm as well as helping Souths end a 43-year drought for glory.

How big-spending Warrington will hope he could finally be the missing piece of their jigsaw as they seek to win a first league title since 1955.

His former Souths team-mate Jason Clark, now playing at Wolves, helped set up the move and Inglis is reticent about what will happen after 2021.

“So far it's a closed door,” he replied, when asked about potentially extending his deal.

“I've got my own little business that I started up which launched last year back home, and that was taking up my main priority until I got over here.

“I’ve just tapped into the New South Wales school education system talking about mental health and my stories and my struggles.

“I’m very passionate about breaking down the stigma of mental health especially in young men.

“Having said that, we'll probably reassess and go back to the same process we did last year and chat to the ones that are important to myself (about a decision).”

If he does recapture his scintillating best, however, there will be no return to the NRL or State of Origin.

When Australian scrum-half Allan Langer was, coincidentally, also playing for Warrington in 2001, current Queensland coach (and Inglis' former Souths mentor) Wayne Bennett memorably asked the 35-year-old to fly home to ease an injury crisis and he duly helped them win a series decider.

But Inglis maintained: “I got the SOS call last year and I said no.

“I left the representative arena on good terms and I’d hate to go back and undo all the good stuff I’ve done there.

“I’d hate to tarnish it. I left on good terms. Hopefully I will do the same here, and leave a good legacy and good standards around the club.”

He also added: “I think the NRL door is completely closed.

“If I was to go back to the NRL, it would be somewhere along the welfare or coaching line.

“I really enjoyed my time coaching the junior guys in the pathways at Souths, and I didn't think I would enjoy coaching - I wasn’t aspiring to it - but if I was to go back to the NRL, it would be in a coaching role.”

Inglis conceded it was that coaching experience that helped him “fall back in love” with the sport and he has missed “being competitive and that drive, using your body as a tool.”

Maybe Warrington, so often the bridesmaid in the summer era, and Super League in general will be the ones to now benefit.