South Sydney captain Greg Inglis’s return from knee surgery failed to pay off as his lukewarm performance typified his side’s NRL elimination final loss to Cronulla.
Test and Origin star Inglis was far from his explosive best as the Rabbitohs’ premiership defence came to an end at Allianz Stadium on Sunday under the weight of injury and suspension.
The fullback was making his first appearance since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on a knee three weeks ago.
During the lead up, both he and coach Michael Maguire were adamant Inglis had fully recovered and he did not represent a risk.
However Channel 9 commentator and former premiership-winning coach Phil Gould observed that he was below 30 per cent.
“It’s not the real Greg Inglis, is it?” Gould said during the game commentary.
Wearing strapping on his right knee, he looked to be playing on one leg at times.
He was often limping heavily in back play and received attention from the Rabbitohs trainer several times during the second half.
Just before halftime, he failed to pull in a Glenn Stewart offload and blew a golden scoring opportunity.
He finished the game with just 12 runs for 156 metres, down on his usual involvement.
Inglis’s only bright spot was a strong 30 metre run after he plucked a short kick off from the air to give his side strong field position in the second half.
His night of frustration reached a low point when he was put on report for a high tackle on Cronulla captain Paul Gallen late in the game.