The Greg Inglis saga has taken another twist with the Melbourne Storm refusing to release the star centre until he forks out an alleged $113,000 in supposed legal fees.
The money in question is related to the costs associated with his assault charge against fiancee Sally Robinson from August last year.
As a result, a bitter feud has erupted between the Storm and Inglis, with claims coming through that Melbourne are “holding the test star to ransom”, as they are sneakily trying to retain him next year.
Inglis, who recently underwent off-season shoulder surgery, is expected to join his new Broncos team-mates in seven days, but in a twist, Storm CEO Ron Gauci hasn’t made any guarantees that Inglis will actually be there.
“I don’t think anything is guaranteed,” Gauci said.
“I don’t know about the Broncos training situation, that’s for them …. hopefully everything is resolved sooner rather than later.”
Inglis managed to avoid a conviction from his assault on Robinson, but he was ordered at the time to attend a men’s behavioural change program, as well as paying $3000 to a women’s health organisation in the western region of Melbourne.
It’s the legal fees however that have been spent over the period of 8 months in an attempt to clear Inglis’s name that have led to this recent twist.
Inglis claims that he was hardly given a choice as to who would represent him at his trial, and how his defence would be decided upon.
It’s alleged that an agreement of the cost was made and signed by a former Melbourne Storm official, with Inglis’s defence not only trying to clear his name, but also to keep the Storm’s brand intact.
“And so a lot of the costs could be proportioned back to the Storm,” said an unknown source.
“Greg has argued that he was given no choice as to who did the work and how it was done and who was involved, yet he is bring told to cover the majority of costs. They appointed a QC, not Greg.
While both Inglis and the Storm are believed to be willing to pay part of the fees, the major sticking point in the whole saga is the amount that both should pay.
Keith Bagley, Inglis’s QC, has refused to discuss the matter in question.
“I’m Greg’s lawyer and I’m bound by solicitor-client confidence. I won’t be commenting,” Bagley said.
Allan Gainey, Inglis’s manager also refused to make any comments on the matter.
The unknown source however said that: “Essentially, he’s being held to ransom on a release to the Broncos and he’s being told that unless you allow us to deduct that money for what you would otherwise get for this season, then we’re not going to give you a release”.
“And they say they can get him under the salary cap [for next season]”.
The claims that have been made the Storm have been holding Inglis to ransom have been described by CEO Ron Gauci as “mischievous”, but he has raised the point that a release may not come until next season.
“He hasn’t been released because we’re trying to reconcile a statement of accounts and there are some other historical matters that we’re trying to resolve,” Gauci said.
“We’re hoping to have it resolved over the next week or so, but the deadline is the start of next season, obviously.”
When questioned about the fact as to whether or not the possibility remained that Inglis could be a Storm player in season 2011, Gauci replied:
“Anything is possible if negotiations break down. But what are the chances of him deciding to retire, what are the chances of him going overseas…that’s such an open question.”
Bruno Cullen, the current CEO of the Brisbane Broncos admits that the whole saga is a worrying concern for his club.
“Our position is that we’re just a bystander and we can only encourage all parties to get together and get it sorted as soon as possible,” Cullen said.
“We’re starting training on November 1 and that’s something we’ll have to get clarified in the next week because if he’s not cleared by November 1, I’m not too sure of the legalities of him actually joining the squad and training.”
David Gallop, the NRL Chief Executive has acknowledged that he is well aware of the whole situation and that at this stage, Inglis’s contract with the Broncos is yet to be registered with the NRL.