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Inglis open to all offers

By David Beniuk 13/08/2008 06:06:54 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne superstar Greg Inglis says he can understand better than anyone why Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier jumped ship to French rugby and has declared his own future "up in the air".

In a message sure to send chills down the spines of NRL officials, Inglis - currently regarded as the game's best player - said his family would come first when he comes off contract in 2011.

Asked if he could commit his future to rugby league, Inglis told AAP: "It's always up in the air, isn't it?

"At the end of the day you've got to look after your own backyard.

"Athletes do it to provide their families with their best interests."

Inglis is one of only a handful of out-and-out NRL superstars, two of whom have already sent the game into a spin by signing with French rugby union clubs.

Sonny Bill Williams walked out on his five-year deal with the Bulldogs more than two weeks ago to join Toulon, while the former face of the Rugby League World Cup, Gasnier, has exercised a get-out in his contract with St George Illawarra and will link with Stade Francais after this NRL season.

"Sonny and Gaz, they're two different and separate cases," Inglis said.

"I don't care where they're both coming from but I'm probably one of the few people who do understand where they're both coming from."

Inglis said he was "quite shocked" by Williams' walkout.

"But he has his reasons and everyone's got their opinion on it, but I'm not saying too much more," he said.

Williams, Gasnier, Lockyer and Inglis are among a group of top tier NRL players which perhaps also includes North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston and Melbourne's Cameron Smith.

But Inglis said he didn't expect to feel greater pressure to stay in the 13-man game.

"No, not at all," he said.

"The boys may not talk about it but, it's always in the back of our mind ... what if. What if that happens, what if this happens."

Unlike Williams and Gasnier, the 21-year-old Storm five-eighth has a background in rugby union.

"I enjoyed it as a kid, playing it through high school but trying to crack the elite level of union is another story," he said.

"Whether I'd get bored at club level before I even put a Test jumper on, that's even if I get a chance to do it.

"There's always those possibilities of getting bored at the club level and not enjoying it, not playing your best footy, it could be a long road."

With the player exodus the NRL's most pressing issue, Test captain Lockyer on Tuesday denied he would be heading to English Super League club Huddersfield a year before his contract with Brisbane ends.

Broncos boss Bruno Cullen said, while the club was open to considering any request from a player of Lockyer's stature, he fully expected the champion five-eighth to play under new coach Ivan Henjak next year.

"I'm not saying it's not (the case) but it's that no-one's indicated to me that that's a possibility," Cullen told AAP.

"I'm very much expecting Locky to be with us next year and we'll talk about even beyond that, if there's any possibility, probably in the next off-season."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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