Rugby league superstar Greg Inglis will this week decide whether to pursue a sensational code-switch by joining AFL club Essendon.
Inglis, the former Melbourne Storm centre, has been unable to secure passage to another NRL club. Inglis walked away from a deal with the Brisbane Broncos before his move to South Sydney was vetoed by the league because of concerns arising from third-party deals used to boost his salary.
Essendon coach James Hird said on Wednesday that Inglis and the Bombers would hold talks in the next couple of days. Hird also confirmed the Bombers would be interested in Inglis, who he described as “one of the best athletes in Australian sport”.
“I haven’t met with Greg yet but some time in the next couple of days we’ll try and catch up for a chat and we’ll see what he’s interested to do,” Hird said.
Although all AFL club squads have been finalised for 2011, Inglis could be squeezed onto the Bombers list and be eligible for extra promotional payments outside the salary cap.
Hird rejected the suggestion that recruiting Inglis, 23, would purely be a promotional exercise.
“Unless he can help us on the football field, we’re not interested,” he said.
“Our list won’t be seen as a novelty no matter what we do.
“Greg Inglis is an amazing athlete, there’s no doubt about that but we haven’t even talked to him yet.
“He’s got to make a decision whether he wants to leave the NRL and then it’s up in the air as to what he does.
“It’s a long way from being anywhere near happening.
“He’s got to make a decision on what he wants to do with his football career, what code he wants to play and then a club like Essendon can come into the picture if he’s interested in playing AFL.”