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An emotional Greg Inglis sat down with Wayne Bennett and Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson in Redfern last Monday and let it all out.

Like many in rugby league, they suspected what they would soon be told.

That it was the end of the road for one of the most gifted footballers the game has seen.

But this was a decision made by Inglis the father as much as it was Inglis the footballer.

He told them that he was ready to spend time with his kids, not fit them in.

He told them he was ready to make his son and daughter, not rugby league, his priority.

He told them the game that had given him so much, wasn't giving him what it used to.

He told them it was time, as he struggled to contain his emotions.

But Inglis was merely confirming what Bennett already knew in January.

Why Greg Inglis retired from the NRL

Inglis may not have told him that he had any intention to hang up the boots at the start of the year, quite the contrary as Inglis sprung the news of his desire to announce he would retire in 2020 on the club.

But Bennett could see something wasn't right.

Last Monday, when Inglis walked into the meeting called by the club's hierarchy, South Sydney wanted to make sure Inglis understood the enormity of the leap he was about to take.

"We told him to go home," Richardson said.

"We told him to go back to his family and decide if he still wanted to hang up the boots. We organised a meeting for the following Monday for him to decide.

I rang Wayne this morning and said don't bother coming in for the meeting

Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson

"We told him it's a big call so don't make it now. Go to Kempsey. You, mum and dad, nan and pop – talk about it and see how you feel Monday."

Inglis didn't need until Monday. With his kids joining him at the team hotel on the Sunshine Coast on Friday, the club could see retirement agreed with him already.

Those close to him noted a weight off his shoulders. From the moment he decided that he was going to retire, he felt right about it.

After Saturday's victory against the Warriors, Inglis told his teammates. The tears running down Damien Cook's face an indication of how much he meant to them.

Suddenly there was no need for the Monday meeting.

"I rang Wayne this morning and said don't bother coming in for the meeting, he's not changing his mind," Richardson said.

Greenberg reacts to Inglis' retirement

What could have been a meeting about one last hurrah became an exercise in changing job descriptions.

Greg Inglis, rugby league superstar – was now Greg Inglis, Souths Cares program support and Indigenous mentor.

Suddenly the Rabbitohs were talking about KPI's and programs, also providing him with a job as development coach and Indigenous player mentor.

"You have to remember when he was injured a couple of years ago he worked with the club on a range of things," Richardson said.

"For two years we've been working with him. He knows the ins and outs of our salary cap management, he's across what we do with recruitment and retention and he was integral in setting up the document for 'The Rabbitohs Way'.

"He understands the business side of this organisation, too. There's not going to be any problems."

Greg Inglis career highlights

Bennett's unselfish decision a couple of weeks ago, to demand Inglis not return to the paddock until he could get through a game without the aid of a pain-killing injection, was made knowing full well how difficult the road ahead would be.

But Bennett put Inglis' welfare over South Sydney's premiership aspirations, fearful of the life he may be forced to live if he continued to receive needles to play games.

The Rabbitohs have already got the wheels in motion in regards to salary cap relief. They met with the NRL salary cap auditors and chief executive Todd Greenberg last week in preparation for what was about to unfold.

They're on the lookout for potential short-term replacements, but with Adam Douehi due back from injury in round 8, and Braidon Burns in round 10, perhaps they may not have to enter the market.

Once the NRL receives a formal application, which as of Monday morning hadn’t been submitted, the Rabbitohs will know how much of Greg's $1 million a season deal they will have to play with next year.

Regardless of what they may or may not pay next year, he's justified every dollar ever spent on him by the club after leading them to the Promised Land in 2014.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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