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 to 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,’’ deWeerd said.
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.
‘‘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,’’ Reynolds said.
Peats, who will play alongside Inglis for the Indigenous All Stars team, said: ‘‘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.
‘‘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 go back to their clubs and you can see that in their own club environment, they are using those leadership skills on a broader scale.’’
Picture: Anthony Johnson