NRL star and South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis has pleaded guilty to drink-driving in regional NSW mere hours after he was announced as Kangaroos skipper.
The 31-year-old was clocked by highway patrol police driving a black Mercedes-Benz E300 sedan at 99km/h in an 80km/h zone, on the Great Western Highway in South Bowenfels, on the afternoon of October 1.
Inglis had two male passengers in the car and was returning to Sydney after playing in the Koori Knockout tournament.
“He was asked if he had consumed any alcohol recently and he replied: ‘We lost the football in Dubbo yesterday and I had alcohol last night’ and ‘I just finished one schooner at the club in Lithgow about 10 minutes ago’,” the police facts state.
Officers noticed Inglis had enlarged pupils and glassy eyes and he was taken to Lithgow police station where he returned a mid-range drink driving result of 0.085.
At the station, Inglis “appeared to be only slightly affected by intoxicating liquor” and told police he’d had a single schooner of Great Northern Super Crisp beer.
His lawyer, James Jordan, entered the guilty plea on Inglis’ behalf at Lithgow Local Court on Thursday.
Mr Jordan apologised to magistrate Cate Follent for the player’s “non-attendance” due to shoulder surgery.
“He does consider himself to be a role model and he hopes that in accepting full responsibility, he will be able to continue as a role model,” Mr Jordan told reporters outside court.
The lawyer said Inglis, who has already publicly addressed his personal disappointment over the offence, remains “extremely remorseful”.
Inglis was charged the day he was announced as ‘s rugby league captain. He was subsequently suspended for two international games and replaced by Boyd Cordner as Kangaroos skipper.
Inglis, who was also issued an infringement notice for speeding over 10km/h that afternoon, has no other drink-driving offences on his record.
The South Sydney player was noted in court documents as a “high profile professional athlete” who was “polite and professional at all times” during the incident.
“Police were of the opinion that he was remorseful for a miscalculation that led to this matter,” the documents state.
Retired Kangaroos great Johnathan Thurston last month said Inglis should be reinstated as captain, with head coach Mal Meninga also hoping to see the 31-year-old back in a green and gold jersey in 2019.
“He has shown real leadership by the way he has been accountable for his actions,” Meninga said in a statement on October 2.
The matter was adjourned to Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court for sentence on January 14.