The NRL is one of the toughest competitions in all of sport, and, due to the salary cap, is also one of the closest fought—there is talent spread across all 16 teams.
We thought we'd pick the NRL team of our era, which has included some of the greatest players to ever grace the rugby league field.
1. Darren Lockyer: Before becoming one of the games best five-eights, Lockyer was a fantastic fullback, and represented Queensland and Australia in the number one jersey. He's one of the games greatest thinkers, and is a constant threat to his opponents.
2. Matt Sing: Sing was a prolific try scorer, scoring 159 trys—the fifth highest in the NRL. He represented Queensland and Australia regularly between 1995 and 2005, before he left the NRL to play for Hull in the Super League.
3. Mal Meninga: How could we not pick Meninga? He's an absolute legend—a member of the rugby league Hall of Fame, and the NRL Team of the Century. He was an excellent attacker, and a very handy goal kicker. It would be a crime not to pick him.
4. Andrew Ettinghausen: ET was exceptionally fast, and used his speed to great effect. He could break through the defensive line with what seemed like ease, and once he was through it was almost impossible to catch him. He was a regular selection in both the NSW State of Origin team and the Kangaroos.
5. Wendell Sailor: Before switching codes, Sailor was one of the best wingers in the NRL. He transformed the way a winger was supposed to play (due to his massive size) and got rid of the idea that wingers had to be thin speed machines. He has looked good since returning to league this year, too.
6. Laurie Daley: We know everyone is expecting Wally Lewis, but Daley was the five-eighth we remember best from when we were growing up. He was the key weapon of the Raiders during their glory days, and the way he led the team was something special.
7. Andrew Johns: Probably the easiest pick of the lot. Joey is without a doubt the greatest player of the last decade. His ability to find a whole in the defence was incredible, as was his kicking game. The Knights were never the same team when Joey wasn't there.
8. Ruben Wiki: Wiki has brought the same physicality to the field for over 300 games. He is one of the toughest players to ever play the game, and one of the most passionate. He holds the record for Tests, playing 55 games for the Kiwis between 1994 and 2006.
9. Steve Walters: Walters was another key player of the Raiders during their glory days of the early 1990's. He went on to represent Queensland and Australia, along side his brothers, Kevin and Kerrod. He was named among the 100 greatest players of all time.
10. Paul Harrigon: The Chief was one of the hardest hitters of all time. He brought an intense physical presence to the Knights, as well as NSW and Australia. It's because of guys like Harrigon that we're passionate NSW supporters.
11. Sonny Bill Williams: Although his NRL career was pretty short, in that small amount of time he became one of the best players league has ever seen. He could attack like no one else, and his defence was rock solid. Just ask Joel Clinton how hard Sonny Bill could tackle...
12. Steve Menzies: Another 300 game veteran, who is still playing just as well today as he was over fifteen years ago. He is also a try scoring machine, scoring 178 trys - and there could be more to come, providing Manly stay in the finals.
13. Brad Fittler: Ok, so we know he's out of position - but we couldn't leave him out of our team. Fittler is one of the games true legends. He was a handful on attack, and he had a knack of creating something from nothing. He also has the makings of a great coach, leading the Roosters to the playoffs this year.
Reserves: Danny Buderus, Gordon Tallis, Glenn Lazerus, Bradley Clyde.
Coach: Wayne Bennett—no one else comes close.
Article from the Sports Fan Attic.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!