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At the end of last season, South Sydney sat down with Greg Inglis to discuss the possibility of extending his contract beyond 2020.

But on Thursday morning the Rabbitohs skipper walked into the club's Redfern headquarters with other ideas.

Inglis, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, was ready to put an end date to one of the greatest careers in the history of the sport.

In the confines of Redfern Oval, he requested a private meeting with new Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and informed him of his intention to hang up the boots at the end of next year.

He then strolled across the road to the club's offices to inform the man that brought him to the Rabbitohs, general manager Shane Richardson, that the end was near.

Later that day he gathered around his teammates to let them know as well, but what soon became clear was his desire to finish on a high, to bring another premiership to the club he joined in 2011.

Those closest to Inglis have seen the emotional toll of the last few seasons.

Greg Inglis announces 2020 retirement

It began when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in round one of 2017.

He spent time in rehabilitation later that year as he struggled to deal with life away from the game.

Inglis also separated from his wife and mother of their two children, before ending 2018 on drink-driving charges that resulted in him being denied the opportunity to captain his country.

There's no doubting Inglis's standing in the game, but some believe the drain of the past few years is the reason why Thursday's revelation was more of a relief than a heartache.

He was happy, clear of mind.

While club officials didn't know it was coming, neither were they surprised when Inglis dropped the news.

As much as they wanted him to play on, they knew this was the best decision for Greg Inglis.

They had seen what rugby league has given, but also taken out of him, throughout a glittering career which began under Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm in 2005.

The veteran has announced that he will don Maroons and Kangaroos jerseys for the last time this year, turning his sole focus to South Sydney in 2020. He wants to add premiership No.22 to the trophy cabinet.

"He's been fantastic for our club," Richardson told

"The night I signed him, which was on Christmas eve in 2010, I said it was the start of our 21st premiership and it was. It was a significant day for this club, because we knew that if we could get Greg Inglis then we could get anybody.

Rabbitohs superstar Greg Inglis.
Rabbitohs superstar Greg Inglis. ©NRL Photos

"Sam [Burgess] and Greg have re-created Souths and have helped us transform into this force we've become. I have nothing but gratitude for what they've done. I know Greg feels strongly about going out a winner and wants to win another premiership."

Barring major injury, Inglis – who now sits on 261 NRL games, will finish his career as a member of the 300 club.

He's also given South Sydney ample time to prepare for life after Inglis, allowing the club to be active in the recruitment market knowing they will have around a million dollars in salary cap space to play with following his retirement in 2020.

Inglis has indicated he wants to be part of rugby league, and particularly Souths, into the future.

He has already been working with Souths Cares in the community but has expressed a desire to help coach in some capacity, which the Rabbitohs will be more than happy to accommodate.

But for now, it's back to working on premiership No.22.

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