Why Inglis called out racism
Greg Inglis has revealed he had been subjected to racial abuse in previous seasons but feels his status in the game has now enabled him to take a stand.
Inglis remains reluctant to detail the racial abuse he heard at Panthers Stadium during South Sydney's round-two match against Penrith which led to two members of the crowd receiving indefinite bans from NRL matches.
"It's a touchy subject, it always has been, and it needs to be addressed," Inglis said ahead of the Rabbitohs match against Sydney Roosters on Thursday night at Allianz Stadium.
"I will speak about it when it's the right time to speak about it and voice my opinion on the whole situation.
"The way they dealt with it… the whole NRL integrity unit and the Panthers…I think they have done exceptionally well."
Asked if he had been the target of racial abuse on other occasions, Inglis said: "Sure have. It gets worse. [It was] years ago now."
The Rabbitohs captain, who is friends with former Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes and supported him when he was the victim of racial taunts at AFL games in 2015, said he was now able to take a leadership role against racism.
"I think where I am in the game, I am someone who can voice an opinion," Inglis said. "That is the way I handled it. I am happy with who I am and what I stand for."
Regarded as one of the best players of the modern era, Inglis's standing is such that St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken admits the try he scored playing opposite him last weekend will feature on his career highlights reel.
Inglis said he was "embarrassed" that Aitken had stood him to score in the Dragons 20-16 win but backed the 22-year-old as a potential NSW Origin bolter.
"If you want to be in this game for a long time you have got to pride yourself on a few things and defence is one of them. It is something I pride myself on," Inglis said.
"He just got me one on one, it is clear to see. Yes, I was embarrassed but he is a great footballer, you can't underestimate him as a footballer.
"I don't think he would look out of place in a Blues jersey, … but that is for NSW and Brad [Fittler] to decide."
If Aitken is selected to play right centre for the Blues he will come up against Inglis again as the Queensland superstar has no intention of retiring from representative football.
After watching last season from the sidelines following a knee injury in round one, Inglis said he felt reinvigorated.
"[It's] just the love of the game. I love being here in this environment, I love being here at Souths and I just love going out each and every week and doing what I do. That's playing footy, and I love it," he said.
"I spent 12 months away from the game, [so] you really get that craving for it."