GI reveals the fear of Wayne
He is one of the highest-profile players in rugby league, but even South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis has admitted to feeling "intimidated" and "terrified" when new coach Wayne Bennett arrived at Redfern.
Despite having previously worked under noted disciplinarians Craig Bellamy and Michael Maguire, nothing could prepare Inglis for the arrival of the 69-year-old supercoach.
"I'm not really terrified of anyone. I had Craig for so long (at Melbourne). Everyone is a bit scared of Craig. I was down there as a kid, I was loving life and football, and he was more like my dad and I could give a bit of cheek back," Inglis said.
"The first time I sat down with Wayne, he was intimidating, let's just say that.
"I didn't say much for two weeks. The boys are like, 'geez you're quiet'. It's just his presence. It's the respect he has from the playing group."
Inglis said it didn't take long for Bennett's first outburst at the playing group.
"He's very mysterious. Some days he's the same face, same thing, but he blew up the other day at the boys on the field and they were like, 'whoa, we haven't seen this side of him'," Inglis said.
"You never know. It's like rolling the dice with Wayne some days. Every time he comes in I'll say 'hey Wayne', he'll have a giggle, but he could also call me into the office and have a go at me for something.
"He hasn't had a crack at me yet. He could have a crack at me tomorrow because of what I'm saying now. In the past every team he's coached players want to play for him because he has that respect.
"Everyone has perceptions of everyone. You want to get to know the coach on a daily basis and make your own mind up."
Inglis and Bennett are among the modern day's greats.
It would seem natural they will form a highly successful combination at Redfern.
"I haven't had much to do with Wayne in the past. There is a serious side to him, but he's also great as a man manager," Inglis said.
"On his first day, he said 'this is my 41st pre-season' and he's 69 years old, so he definitely knows what he's doing, but he's got no time to muck around either. He'll tell you how it is. The boys love having him around.
"He loves the game. He cares about the game and his players as well. That's why he's been so successful and been around for so long.
"We had another chat this morning and he said, 'when you're ready, let me know and we'll bring you back into the group'.
"At the end of the day we have to make the decision around what's best for the team. We have 'AJ' (Alex Johnston) and he said 'we can go without you for round one, but if you're ready for round one, I'll put you there'."
Inglis also slammed the "embarrassing" reports his weight had ballooned during the off-season, likening it to fat shaming.
The 32-year-old has declared he could make his NRL return as early as next week, having overcome an injury to his surgically repaired knee.
But he has also had to deal with rumours he had returned to training 15kg overweight, leaving him racing the clock to be fit for round one.
Inglis scoffed at the misinformation coming out of Brisbane and will start the season looking fit and trim.
"My weight varies between five and eight kilos," Inglis said. "It was embarrassing whoever said or wrote about it. It's kind of fat shaming in a way and incorrect."
Inglis said he had tipped the scales at 114kg over summer, but he had already lost 4kg and another 2-3kg would put him back at his playing weight.
Inglis will retire at the end of the 2020 season and he is adamant his body can hold up to the rigours of NRL football.
"This is my last year of rep football, and then the following year will be purely focused on South Sydney and hopefully we can lift that trophy up," Inglis said.
"There's no doubt in my mind my body can do it, I've managed it this long, and there's no reason I can't manage it another two seasons."