JASON Clark has revealed how he turned from friend into the maker of Super League’s deal of the season – Warrington’s move for Greg Inglis.
The Australian legend makes his debut today after coming out of retirement to join the Wolves.
It may be just over two years since he last played a game, retiring for reasons that were not physical, but staff say he has already showed in training why he is ‘another level.’
And Aussie back rower Clark has lifted the lid on how it all came about, as well as his excitement at seeing his pal play.
The 31-year-old, who played alongside Inglis at NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs, said: “I keep in touch with friends back in Oz, a lot of players I paid with, about life in general.
“Greg’s a great friend. We were chatting and I asked how he was going. He was doing a bit of coaching but he said, ‘I miss the game.’
“I said, ‘Mate, you should come and have a run over here.’ He replied, ‘I’d love to,’ and was always asking questions.
“We left it at that but the next morning, he messaged me saying, ‘Mate, do you think there’s really a chance I could come over?’
“I replied, ‘Of course, we’ll get the ball rolling. There’s no harm in asking.’ I told the club, ‘I’ve got a friend who’d be interested in coming over. What do you think?’
“I left it with them and they ironed it out.”
Clark was handed another year’s contract to play alongside his pal and is playing something of a tour guide, now things are opening up again.
But Inglis and partner Alyse Caccamo have found plenty to get stuck into despite lockdown – and a secret talent was revealed.
“They’ve taken on board everything that’s been going on,” Clark added. “I can imagine how hard it was coming from Australia, where there were pretty much no restrictions, to here, where it was hard to do anything.
“It was impossible to show him around. I told him how good it is but he’s only been able to see little bits and pieces. He’s seeing more of the area now restrictions are easing a bit though.
“But they’re both really into their horses and have found a place where they can ride some. They do all the feeding and stable cleaning too.
“Alyse is into dressage and that’s been good for them through lockdown. From what I hear, Greg coaches his partner, so he’s got a little unannounced talent!
“It’s an exciting week for the club and I’m excited for him. It’s been two years since he played a game and I’m proud of the effort he’s put in to get himself ready.
“We’ve had a lot of fans of other clubs thinking it’s all a hoax and he’s not going to play, he’s here for a holiday – which is a shame to see.
“But he doesn’t want to go out there and be a passenger. He looks more like the Greg I knew at Souths, just a few more grey hairs – on me too.”
Clark, who takes on Hull KR, is out of contract at the end of this season and admits he is in the dark over whether Warrington, who will have a new coach in Daryl Powell in 2022, want to keep him.
And while he would love to stay, he also has an eye on a career back home in helping players away from the field.
First and foremost, though, is building on last week’s fine 24-8 win at Catalans – a trip made easier by the charter flight arrangements, despite having to complete five days’ quarantine.
He told SunSport: “My body’s feeling good and Warrington have been great for me. If they want me to go another year, I’ll definitely sit down with them and think about it.
“I’ve no desire to go to another club, it’s either Warrington or back to Australia and I’m passionate about player welfare. I’d love to work with younger kids and those coming through about that.
“I liked it as in 2019, we did Catalans in a day and we had to get up at 4am whereas last Saturday, we had to meet for the bus at 10.30am.
“And the game itself was a good step in the right direction for us. There are things we want to improve on but we’re building.”
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