Rugby league great Greg Inglis is coming out of retirement to join Warrington in the English Super League for the 2021 season.
The 33-year-old fullback retired in April last year after long-running battles with knee and shoulder injuries.
The move comes as a shock, particularly after the South Sydney and Melbourne Storm star had also battled mental health issues.
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But Inglis, who played an integral part in the Rabbitohs' 2014 grand final triumph - their first in 43 years, was upbeat about re-igniting his career.
“I can't wait to get over there and play for a club that has so much rich heritage,” he said.
“I've seen the success the team have had in the Challenge Cup and I want to help the team to deliver more glory.
“I've played over in England many times in representative footy and love how passionate and vocal the supporters are.
“To get the opportunity to live in the UK, to play for such a powerhouse club that I believe is on the rise is something I'm looking forward to and hopefully I can add value to the team.”
Widely regarded as one of the best players of the last two decades, the powerhouse back played 263 NRL games, made 32 State of Origin appearances for Queensland and logged 39 Tests for Australia.
According to reports Inglis had been contemplating a return to the game for several months and will now do so with the Wolves.
He is friends with Warrington head coach Steve Price.
“This signing is a gift to every one of our fantastic members and partners who are currently experiencing difficult times," said Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick.
“We wanted to give everyone something to look forward to and to say thank you for their extraordinary loyalty. With this in mind we were extra motivated to get this deal completed.
“Greg is considered to be one of the greatest rugby league players of the modern era. To see him pull on the primrose and blue will be a historical moment in Warrington Wolves and Super League's timeline.”
Just when rugby league in England returns is up in the air.
July's Challenge Cup final - of which Warrington are the holders - was postponed on Tuesday and the sport has also received a 16 million pound ($A30 million) government loan to help it through.
Rugby league world reacts to Inglis bombshell
South Sydney CEO Blake Solly says the club are fully behind Inglis' decision.
“Greg has made a wonderful contribution to this club, both on and off the field, and following our discussions with him, we believe it is in his best interests for him to resume his playing career with Warrington next year,” said Solly.
“We have a wonderful relationship with Warrington so we know he is heading to a strong and well-run organisation under the guidance of co-owner Simon Moran, CEO Karl Fitzpatrick and head coach Steve Price.
“We wish Greg the best of luck for 2021 in England and we look forward to seeing Greg around Redfern Oval this year before finishing his current tenure with the Rabbitohs at the end of this season.”
Fans and players took to social media in shock.
Madness— Damian Irvine (@damianirvine) May 19, 2020
No way😱— Nathan Hunt (@Nathan_hunt3) May 19, 2020
Wow!!! I went to bed last night reading this was rumoured & wake up to it being reality🙌🏼💯— Ashton Sims (@ashtonsims26) May 19, 2020
Huge signing, one of the best RL players of our generation🏉
Get him fit, get him firing & us Warrington fans are in for a real treat👊🏼🐺 #Wire https://t.co/gTv69yyAGE
Removing the controversy/issues/drama etc. From a pure athletic & entertainment standpoint @SuperLeague in 2021 will have @SonnyBWilliams Greg Inglis & Israel Folau on show...wow...got my attention! https://t.co/Z8w1AI0X87— David Niu (@davidniu7) May 19, 2020
It would be an interesting time to be a Warrington player, having just been asked to take a pay cut and then you load up Twitter and see you're going to be having a Costa and doing congas in Grappenhall with Greg Inglis next year!— Aaron Bower (@AaronBower) May 19, 2020
Woah, what?! Greg Inglis to Warrington! https://t.co/JGswYekdLy— Matthew Shaw (@M_Shaw1) May 19, 2020