Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess has leapt to the defence of teammate Greg Inglis after questions were raised about the superstar’s future in the game.
The South Sydney skipper is set for another week on the sidelines after being ruled out of Saturday’s clash with the Warriors because of illness and injury.
The Queensland and Australian champion will sit out the match on the Sunshine Coast after being given the week off training by coach Wayne Bennett because of a virus.
Inglis missed the side’s win over the Gold Coast and the golden point loss to Manly because of a shoulder injury.
He was also absent from training last week because of a bout of food poisoning.
Fellow Maroons great Billy Moore recently admitted that he felt Inglis’ body was trying to tell him it was just about time to give the game away.
“He is iconic, but I’ve just got the feeling that maybe we are seeing that the body is saying we are almost at the end of the road,” Moore told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
League journalist James Hooper also told Fox Sports that Inglis’ playing future has been a hot topic.
“Certainly over the course of the last week, there’s been some very direct conversations about Greg’s immediate playing future.
“I think he’s got a big decision to make. He’s an ornament to the game, he’s achieved everything there is to achieve in the game.”
Burgess has taken exception to all the talk around his teammate, insisting that Inglis will make a decision on his future when he’s good and ready.
“I just care about Greg and I don’t care too much about the hype around it, but I care about Greg as a person,” Burgess told NRL.com.
“I feel like there has been some pressure put on him externally and we should let Greg make the decision in time.
“Everyone needs to step back a little bit and give him a bit of time.”
Time off is exactly what the Rabbitohs have given their star and Burgess believes it could be just what Inglis needs to come back reinvigorated.
“Greg is a busy man in Sydney and he can get quite consumed so we just want Greg to feel happy and healthy and he has not been great the last three or four days so some time away will be good for him.”
Inglis’ luckless start to the season comes after a knee injury interrupted his preparation for the 2019 season.
“He hasn’t had any luck lately,” Souths hooker Damien Cook said.
“He did well to get back from his knee so early and then hurt his shoulder in the Dragons (round two) game.
“Food poisoning and then a virus; it hasn’t been good.
“Wayne’s done the right thing, just given him the week off.”
Kyle Turner has been named in the centres while Jacob Gagan, who filled in for Inglis against the Sea Eagles, has been named on an extended bench.
Warriors hooker Issac Luke (hamstring) is a chance to make his return against the Rabbitohs after being named on an extended bench.