Greg Inglis looks on during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL pre-season training session at Redfern Oval.
Greg Inglis looks on during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL pre-season training session at Redfern Oval.

Inglis on track to make shock early return

SOUTH Sydney skipper Greg Inglis has declared he could make his return to the NRL field as early as next week - but it will be at centre rather than fullback.

After an off-season in which he had to deal with a flare-up in his surgically-repaired knee and rumours he could miss the opening two NRL rounds due to ballooning weight, Inglis is fighting to get back to his best under new coach Wayne Bennett.

Inglis has been limited in the pre-season after suffering a setback in the same left knee which required a full reconstruction after tearing his ACL in early 2017.

It was reported that the Queensland Origin skipper returned to training 15kgs overweight - a story rubbished by Inglis.

He admitted he returned to the pre-season tipping the scales five to eight kilos heavier than his playing weight but stressed that was normal and he was actually lighter than this time last year.

Inglis will sit out the Rabbitohs' first trial against Penrith on Saturday but has told Bennett he's ready to take on St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield the following week.

Inglis is eyeing the Charity Shield for his return. Phot: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.
Inglis is eyeing the Charity Shield for his return. Phot: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.

"I could be up for the Charity Shield," Inglis said.

"I asked Wayne and he said 'yep, if you think you're ready'. I said 'I know I'm ready'."

However Inglis must still convince Rabbitohs head of strength and conditioning Jarrod Wade that it would be the right move to bring him back in the trials.

"(Wade) said 'the only reason we played you last year (in the Charity Shield) is because you were coming back from an ACL and wanted to give you that confidence, playing that 20 minutes'," Inglis said.

"He said there's no point in your playing, just keep you ticking over and get ready for Round 1."

Inglis will make a fulltime shift from centre to fullback this year but he said he will ease himself back via the three-quarter line.

Alex Johnston will start at fullback against the Panthers at Redfern Oval on Saturday while Corey Allan, who has followed Bennett from Brisbane to South Sydney is another option to fill in at fullback in round one.

"I'll play No.1 this year. It depends when," Inglis said.

"I haven't had the greatest pre-season. Coming back, the boys have been training without me there.

"We've got AJ to come across and they've been training there the entire pre- season without me.

"If I am right, it probably won't be at fullback from round one. We'll wait and see how the next two or three weeks pan out."

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