The NRL are bracing themselves for another huge blow as yet another of their star players is believed to be seeking a move to rugby union.
It is believed that Greg Inglis is currently seeking a move to the French Top 14 at the end of this years NRL.
Fairfax Media have revealed that the Inglis camp has engaged an overseas agent to offer the star’s services to French clubs at the starting price of 800,000 euro (A$1.17 million). Widely regarded as the game’s best player,
‘GI’ is contracted to the Rabbitohs until the end of 2017. However, the club granted fellow superstar Sam Burgess an early release from his deal to allow him to pursue his dreams in the 15-man code.
The expected loss of Inglis will come as a huge blow to NRL bosses who have already presided over the departures of Sam Burgess, Sonny Bill Williams and Jarryd Hayne to rival codes in the last few months.
Inglis is very much seen as a posterboy of the game and is widely expected to become a future Immortal. Inglis has very much been the face of the game of late and is seen as a role model in the indigenous community.
Recently promoted side Lyon are believed to be one of the teams offered Inglis’ services, however a player of his stature is likely to attract a number of top bidders from around Europe.
“His manager has gone through an agent who works in France and is seeing if there is interest in him coming over to rugby union,” said Lyon’s defensive coach, David Ellis.
“His name has been bandied about. I think the reason that the agent has gotten in contact with us is because we’ve got Tim Lane as director of rugby, there’s myself as defence coach and we’ve got Scott Wisemantel, another former Australian rugby league player, on our staff as well.
“Obviously when his name was mentioned I said ‘yes’ but when we got to talking it was far too much for us.
“They were talking about 800,000 [euro].”
NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith does however have the ability to attempt to retain the NRL’s top talent with an additional fund that allows him to pay over and above the salary cap in a bid to ward off interest from other codes.
“Some of the top clubs like Toulon and Racing Metro, I’d imagine they are the two with the budget and financial backing that would go for him,” he said.
“If you would say a favourite, Toulon would be that because their owner is always after the best and Greg Inglis is probably the best rugby [league] player at the moment.
“Lyon is a club which was promoted last year, we’re in the Top 14 this year and it will take us two or three years to get established in the league.
“After that we’d be interested but that would probably be too late for him. But for clubs like Toulon, Racing Metro and one or two others, they would be very interested in him.
“I would imagine it wouldn’t take Greg Inglis too long to adapt [to rugby], he would do it very quickly.”