Inglis shows he's a leader off the field too

BRAD WALTER
Last updated 14:15 06/02/2013
Greg Inglis
Fairfax Australia
TITLE CONTENDERS: Greg Inglis and the South Sydney Rabbitohs will face the Sydney Roosters in the final round in a game that will likely decide the minor premiership.

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NRL culture and diversity manager Mark deWeerd was planning last weekend's inaugural Indigenous players camp when he received a call from Greg Inglis.

''He just suggested that the younger guys be roomed with the more senior guys so they were able to talk on them one-on-one and be a mentor for them,'' deWeerd said.

It is just one example of Inglis's growth as a leader those around him have noticed - both on and off the field. ''In this camp, there is a group of guys who are the senior people in this team and they grow confidence from that and develop leadership skills because they are the ones that others look up to.''

Inglis has always been held in high regard by his peers for his football skills but it has been noticeable around the Indigenous All Stars team this week that he has also become a leader off the field.

''I think he has just taken ownership of who he is,'' said Indigenous All Stars assistant coach Gorden Tallis, who also worked with Inglis during his first season at South Sydney in 2011. ''He has played for Queensland, Australia and won grand finals in Melbourne but I think with this side here, because of who he is and what he has achieved, he is one of the real leaders of the team.''

Rabbitohs teammates Adam Reynolds and Nathan Peats, who will line up on opposite sides in the match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, have also noticed how Inglis has developed.

''He has taken on a leadership role at Souths this year and he is doing a good job,'' Reynolds said. ''He was a leader last year but this year he has taken it to a new level. He talks a lot more than he did last year and he has got everyone at Souths working really hard and he is keeping us honest.

''He is keeping all of the young boys on their toes and really giving them good feedback and good tips at training. There is a lot of competition at Souths with a lot of young blokes pushing through and trying to get a spot and he is good for them.''

Peats, who will play alongside Inglis for the Indigenous All Stars team, added: ''You can see that he feels really comfortable here, being around guys like Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges.''

With Sam Thaiday injured, Thurston, Inglis, Hodges and Scott Prince are the senior members of the team but deWeerd believes that every player in the camp is developing leadership skills they can take back to their clubs.

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''In the time I have been involved I have noticed that the senior players are more vocal about providing leadership and support for indigenous players,'' deWeerd said. ''They then go back to their clubs and you can see that in their own club environment, they are using those leadership skills on a more broader scale.

''I think the All Stars game provides more than just benefits to the community but it also grows the leadership skills of our players at all levels because everyone needs to take responsibility to represent their communities and provide work as a team to achieve the outcomes they desire.''

Tallis said the All Stars match helped indigenous players develop leadership skills as they are representing their communities.

''If you go to a lot of those communities they don't have the same opportunities as a kid growing up in the city has, so sport is a way for them to break the mould and I think this game really typifies that,'' he said. ''It gives people hope because even the kids who don't play rugby league, when they watch this game and these guys they know that they can get to the top in their chosen profession.''

- Sydney Morning Herald

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