http://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/rabbitohs-star-greg-ingliss-generosity-revealed-as-he-shatters-the-image-of-a-typical-rugby-league-player/story-e6frf3uu-1227079393429?sv=a17cffa73f1ecc0fc3e48e026daf2098#itm_s=foxs&itm_t=home&itm_c=content-3&itm_o=7&itm_l=Fox Feed - The beautiful secret side of Greg Inglis
Rabbitohs star Greg Inglis’s generosity revealed, as he shatters the image of a typical rugby league player
THIS is the Greg Inglis you don’t see. The substance behind the playing style.
Not the Queensland Origin ace who will light up Sunday night’s NRL grand final, but the man tackling indigenous welfare issues and fighting against bullying in schools.
In the past two years, it is estimated Inglis has spent $50,000 from his own pocket to help address social inequities. At last Monday night’s Dally M Awards there was a table of 10 reserved for children from the Starlight Foundation, organised and paid for by Inglis.
As the Rabbitohs fullback prepares to face Canterbury in the decider at ANZ Stadium, his bravest stand was addressing the treatment of Souths CEO Shane Richardson’s teenage daughter.
“Knowing Greg, he won’t want me to tell you this story,” said Richardson, who housed Inglis with his wife and two daughters, Chloe, 17, and Georgia, 15, when he moved to Sydney in 2011.
“He will be embarrassed, but it sums up the person he is away from football.
“My daughter (Georgia) was copping abuse at school. She told some kids that Greg Inglis was living with us and people were putting crap on her. They didn’t believe it, they said you’re only saying this because you’re a fatso and this sort of nonsense.
“As a result, she didn’t know if she wanted to go the formal because she was getting a hard time, but when Greg heard what happened, he said, ‘No, I’m coming with you’.
“He got his suit on, hired a limousine and away they went.
“You can imagine the kids’ faces when he arrived at the school formal with Georgie. A few asked him to dance and he said, ‘No thanks, I’m here with Georgia, I’ll only dance with her tonight’.
“As a family, we’ll never forget that. Greg never seeks the limelight for the charity work he does. He’s the most generous footballer I’ve ever seen in my decades in rugby league.’’
It is a benevolence which comes from his brushes with hardship and tragedy. In May 2005, just a month after making his NRL debut, Inglis lost his six-month-old stepsister Tamieka to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Within three months, Inglis was again in mourning, his uncle Stephen Blair killed in a road accident on the morning he was due to play for former club Melbourne.
The twin tragedies could have broken Inglis, but instead he made a silent pledge to better the lives of others. Becoming a father this year has only amplified his determination to help disadvantaged children.
“The 10 kids from The Starlight Foundation who were at the Dally Ms the other night were there because of Greg,” Richardson says.
“He did that because when his wife was in hospital having their baby, he met a little boy whose father had been killed in a car accident.
“The boy was four years old and suffering terrible injuries. He was paralysed and Greg rang me and said I want to help these kids.
“He goes out and buys tracksuits and pants for indigenous football teams, he will buy footballs and donate money to his home town (Macksville in northern NSW).
“I’ve lost count of all the dollars he’s spent, but I’ll tell you his generosity is incredible.
“He’s spent a lot of money, he’s kind and generous with everybody he meets.
“He never does things looking for the accolades. Like Johnathan Thurston, he just genuinely loves the game, cares about people and feels a passion to give back.”
At 27, Inglis is continuing to smash the footballer’s stereotype. Behind the veneer of money and machismo, the Test flyer is cultivating his dream of funding the construction of a Ronald McDonald-style hospital for indigenous children.
Just down the road from where he trains at Redfern Oval lies the Aboriginal Medical Service, whose foyer features a pink boot Inglis wore in the Women in League round.
Ever since his teens, Inglis has known what he wants and where he is going in life.
He bought his first place in Melbourne at 19. He has since added an investment property at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast, and is continually researching the Sydney property market.
His most chilling life lesson came at 17 when he visited Brisbane Watchhouse with former officer Adrian Coolwell, the “second dad” who looked after Inglis when he moved to Brisbane to chase his NRL dreams.
“The people in there really opened his eyes,” Coolwell said. “He saw the seedier side of life, people high on drugs, those under observation to avoid self-harm.
“He had a wide-eyed look that said, ‘How can people look like this, how can their lives become like this?’’
Inglis said his goal was to see children living a healthy life, especially indigenous kids.
“You know, they can get into alcohol, drugs, stuff that can put them off track. I want Aboriginal kids to be better at what they do with their lives.
“Sport is always going to be in my blood, but I’ve got to have something outside of it.
“One day, I’d like to see higher attendance from indigenous kids going to school and finishing school.
“You can only do so much. all I can do is show them guidance. Whether they want to take it or not, it’s up to them.’’