Greg Inglis says St George Illawarra's broad-shouldered snipers are welcome to target the decade-old rib injury that floored him last week, as the Rabbitohs skipper charges headlong through the pain barrier in pursuit of a premiership.
Most every NRL player still standing in the competition is carrying some form of niggle – this week alone has seen a ruptured testicle (Kurt Capewell), torn elbow ligaments (Viliame Kikau) and syndesmosis injuries (Jack de Belin) put to the side for week two of the finals.
Inglis is no exception, drawing on floatation therapy throughout 2018 to deal with his various aches and ailments.
In Saturday's showdown with the Dragons he will play through a chest infection, lingering shoulder pain from Jesse Bromwich's controversial chicken wing-style tackle and the rib cartilage injury exposed in a heavy shot from Suliasi Vunivalu.
The Australian captain in waiting has been a regular client at the Sydney Float Centre in Darlinghurst on the advice of Rabbitohs medical staff this year, using a sensory deprivation tank to aid post-game recovery.
The rehabilitation process sees him suspended in salt infused water twice as buoyant as the Dead Sea to reduce the effect of gravity, in turn increasing the body's circulation and relieving pain and stress.
"One hour's sleep in there is the equivalent of about four or five hours sleep," Inglis said.
"It just helps you recover and if you're struggling with a few injuries, it helps a lot of things. Your fatigue, your sleep, stress levels, it's really good for you.
"Damien Cook uses cryotherapy, so there are different forms of recovery.
"There is a lot of science behind it but it all depends on the individual player."
In high spirits on Tuesday, the 30-year-old revealed Vunivalu had nailed a rib injury that he sustained during his Melbourne playing days, ironically against the Rabbitohs.
But with the likes of Tariq Sims, Tyson Frizell and de Belin regarded as some of the heaviest hitters in the game, Inglis has no qualms if they come after him with a rib tickle in Saturday's sudden-death clash at ANZ Stadium.
"If they do, they do," he grinned.
"What happens between those white lines in 80 minutes happens on the field.
"I was in a lot of pain, but it's football. You give it you're all, you put your body on the line and that's why I love this game.
"I thought I'd done the rib cartilage again. Obviously it's just bruised the area again and out of everything it was on that one particular spot."
Inglis only participated in light contact training on Tuesday, but he, Adam Reynolds (shoulder) and Angus Crichton (virus) will all be good to go with the Rabbitohs' season on the line.
Reynolds hasn't ruled out a pain killing injection to get through the showdown with St George Illawarra.
Fellow centre Dane Gagai marvelled at Inglis's ability to push through the pain barrier, not least when he first arrived at the club as his Queensland Origin teammate recovered from his ACL rupture.
"Through pre-season we'd come in early, start training at 7am, so we'd get here at 6.15, 6.30," Gagai said.
"As you'd come in Greg's finishing a gym sesh so his determination, so he could get back on the field, so he could be there for the start of the season, his determination to play is just a credit to him and his toughness.
"…Even these last couple of weeks, no one would know but he's been crook with a chest infection.
"He doesn't say anything, he just turns up to training, does his job, works hard and he leads with his actions. That's inspiring, he gets the best out of everyone around him."
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