Inglis confirms that Essendon is a viable option for him

After his deal with Souths was blocked by the NRL, Greg Inglis is officially, without a club, and given that he’s somewhat disillusioned with the NRL, he is set to undergo talks with new Essendon coach, James Hird.

Inglis is unsure as to where he stands in the NRL after the lingering saga involving his contract with Souths came to a premature halt after salary cap auditor Ian Schubert blocked the deal following concerns about the third-party deals in the contract.

Allan Gainey, Inglis’s manager says that Inglis’s former club, the Melbourne Storm still owe him $270,000 and as a result of no direct income, Inglis is struggling to meet mortgage payments.

Storm CEO Ron Gauci has been contacted by Gainey about the matter, money which he says Inglis is owed from the 2009 and 2010 seasons .

This has all been made harder by the Storm’s reluctance to pay the legal fees that Inglis incurred during his time at court whilst at the Storm for assaulting his now wife Sally Robinson.

”I haven’t had a positive response yet,” Gainey said.

Inglis is set to meet with Essendon coach James Hird tomorrow to discuss a possible move to the AFL.

”Greg knows [Bombers great] Michael Long pretty well and they [Essendon] regard him as a tremendous athlete,” Gainey said. ”[Chief executive] Ian Robson has been in touch with me right from the word go.”

“He [Inglis] still wants to stay in rugby league but if Souths can’t do the deal, he’ll either have to go back to Melbourne, and his contract will have to be honoured, or he can look at other alternatives. We have to have a back-up plan.”

‘James wanted to talk to Greg about his interest in the AFL. His first choice is obviously to stay in rugby league, but I’ll tell you that if he was purely choosing money, he’d be going the other way [to the AFL] for sure.

”I’ve got to look after his best interests.”

Whilst Inglis may not be eligible for the AFL draft, he should have no problems in playing immediately in the AFL, given that he hasn’t played a part in the sport for three years, deeming him eligible to play should a deal be brokered.

St Kilda, the second team rumoured to be interested in Inglis’s services have pulled out of the race for him, due to salary cap restraints.

The saga seems far from over with some people believing that the hard-line stance taken by the NRL was too rash, and over the top.

Peter Maher, a former Storm director who was sacked by News Ltd following the Storm’s salary cap breaches, said that the AFL now has a one-up over the NRL following the NRL’s refusal to allow the deal to go through.

‘He loves rugby league more than any bloke I’ve ever met in my whole life, but it’s as if they don’t want him to play the game,” Maher said.

”How can this be in the best interests of the game if this bloke leaves the code? What does that say to aspiring footballers out there? If Greg Inglis can’t get a game, what chance is there for the rest of them? I just can’t understand why they would let Greg Inglis leave the game.”

Despite all this, Souths CEO Shane Richardson remains adamant that the Bunnies will retain Inglis, and issued a statement on the matter that said ” the Rabbitohs will do everything in our power to keep Greg Inglis at the club”.

Gallop has also remained defiant on the matter however, re-affirming that the Rabbitohs were using third-party deals in ways that they were bot supposed to, in order to lower the base salary of the contract, rather beefing up third-party deals.

He says that the whole idea behind third-party deals is in place to increase a player’s earnings for the year.

”The third-party deals in Greg’s case, however, were not being used to gain extra money,” Gallop said. ”They were being used to reduce – below the current market value – what Greg was being paid by Souths to sign.”

The NRL chief executive added that ”the ruling against Souths … in no way reflects on the third parties involved, and there is no suggestion of any of them having done anything improper”.

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