Greg Inglis has announced his immediate retirement from rugby league.

The Rabbitohs captain revealed his decision on Monday, calling it quits on his glittering career nearly two years earlier than he'd planned to.

The 32-year-old, who has claimed multiple premierships alongside a lengthy representative career, arrived at South Sydney headquarters to deliver the news.

"I think it's time and it's the right decision for me," an emotional Inglis told the media on Monday morning. "I've been contemplating it for a while now.

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"As of today, it's official. There's been a lot of speculation out there. My body hasn't given up on me, but I think it's time for me. It's time for me to go and just enjoy life and look after the four horses I have now.

"It's been an incredible journey ... a remarkable ride.

One of the most decorated players of the 21st century, Inglis has been battling a serious shoulder problem and hasn't played since he was injured in round two against St George Illawarra.

He ends his tenure on the field with 263 games under his belt, not including 32 Origin appearances and 39 Kangaroos caps.

"Most of the boys were pretty shocked even though they knew it was coming," Inglis continued. "They were taken aback by it. What I'll miss most is the dressing shed."

Inglis was thrown a curveball mid-press conference with a reporter asking him why he chose to play for Queensland in State of Origin despite being born on NSW's mid north coast.

"I chose to go to Queensland because I was happy up there and felt more at home. I felt wanted and felt I belonged there," he said.

The legendary back squashed any thought of him jumping on the winning side, reminding fans he joined the Maroons in a slump.

"NSW was on the brink of winning four straight," he said, before dropping another rib-tickling one-liner.

"I was from Kempsey, which is just on the other side to Coolangatta."

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett reflected on the Queensland great's career and declared him one of the finest NRL players of his generation.

"It's the hardest part in a footballer's life to know when your time is up.

"Through conversations with people around him, he's been able to come to a decision he is comfortable with. He has a wonderful reputation and is one of the finest players of his generation."

The end was always in sight for Inglis but it was never meant to come this soon. Still Queensland's State of Origin captain, he planned to bid farewell to the representative arena in 2019 before ending his NRL career at the end of next season.

Instead though, a poor range of movement in his left shoulder has him struggling to lift his arm above his head or away from his body.

Dragons skipper James Graham told Fox Sports he "couldn't believe" the Queensland great was set to bow out.

"He deserves better ... not everyone gets a fairytale exit from the game," he said.

Damaging at both centre and fullback in club and representative football, Inglis made his name as Melbourne began their dominant era in 2006 and remained part of the Storm's success until forced to leave amid the salary cap scandal.

He landed at Redfern desperate to end the Rabbitohs' title drought, doing so in the 2014 grand final as he scored the final try and sent the burrow into delirium.

He was just as dominant at representative level, forming arguably the greatest centre-wing combination in State of Origin history with Darius Boyd on Queensland's left edge.

There he scored the majority of his 18 Origin tries, while also crossing the line 31 times in 39 Kangaroos appearances.