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bedlam breakout

wally lewis - how good was he?

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Context is the key - if you weren't there then it is difficult to understand the impact that he had in his brief time here and, much more importantly, in his time in the ARL/QRL. Remember he played in the Queensland competition before it merged with the NSWRL to create what eventually became the NRL. No Brisbane Broncos, Sky/Channel 9 money; even in Oz the players were strictly part-time; training was a bolt-on to their regular jobs; and the game as positively brutal, it really was (that's why complaints today about lax refereeing make me chuckle).

 

To survive and thrive in those conditions as a skilful half back with vision and combative energy was really something special that would make many current players flinch to think about. Never mind his games for Trinity just watch the influence of his cameos for the 1982 tourists and marvel.

 

He liked a beer and a fag, hated training and generally ignored coaches, so I reckon he was like two Lee Briers on speed with tackling ability and no dodgy haircut.

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Wayne Bennett once described him as the finest player that ever pulled on a State of Origin jersey.

 

That'll do for me.

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He was a freak of rugby league nature

Powerful and tough

Agile and quick

Clever bordering on genius

A leader, both verbal and through actions

The best passer of a ball I've ever seen

a class kicking game

Vision and understanding of the game

Consistently brilliant

What made him the greatest was his ability to be one or all of these things at just the right time in the game.

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and when you can pass the ball 30 metres across the field into somebodys chest, you dont need to scoot or jink or electric pace. For me he is the best player I have ever seen because he could see things nobody else could see or nobody else could do, he was light years ahead of his time compared to players in this country at the time..He was strong, tough and didnt know when he was beaten..

He was strong, tough and didnt know when he was beaten........I don't doubt it but.............As a young kid the Aussies came to Barrow to play and I remember being outside the ground as the Aussie bus pulled up as we wanted to glimpse the superstars up close and get autographs etc,  anyhow big daft Eddie Szymila  was walking up to the ground carrying a plastic shopping bag (lol) He suddenly went ape , he ran over to the bus ran around until he spotted Wally and went bananas slamming the windows screaming how he was going to kill him etc he ran to the coach door and tried to open it to get on etc, the faces on the Aussies was a picture and Lewis looked shaken to say the least as Eddie was ushered into the ground chomping at the bit, An hour or so later you hardly noticed Wally was actually on the pitch.  

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That'd be like the British RL team going to play some backwater team in Wolf Creek.....if some Mick Talyor style character started screaming that he was going to create a few "heads-on-sticks" I'm sure it would put Sir Kev of his stroke too.... 

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He was strong, tough and didnt know when he was beaten........I don't doubt it but.............As a young kid the Aussies came to Barrow to play and I remember being outside the ground as the Aussie bus pulled up as we wanted to glimpse the superstars up close and get autographs etc,  anyhow big daft Eddie Szymila  was walking up to the ground carrying a plastic shopping bag (lol) He suddenly went ape ######, he ran over to the bus ran around until he spotted Wally and went bananas slamming the windows screaming how he was going to kill him etc he ran to the coach door and tried to open it to get on etc, the faces on the Aussies was a picture and Lewis looked shaken to say the least as Eddie was ushered into the ground chomping at the bit, An hour or so later you hardly noticed Wally was actually on the pitch.  

What year was that? They played Cumbria at Carlisle in 1982 did they play Barrow as well? I know they played Cumbria at Barrow in 1986

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So Bedlam Breakout, who regularly tells us that RL isn't as good as it used to be, is now downgrading his view on good players who used to be? Has he/she never just considered the possibility that RL isn't the game for him/her?

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What year was that? They played Cumbria at Carlisle in 1982 did they play Barrow as well? I know they played Cumbria at Barrow in 1986

 

In 1982  they played Barrow at Craven Park.

Wally was one of the Emus on the 1982 tour and Brett Kenny was the chosen Test 5/8 alongside Sterlo at Halfback.

 

By the 1986 Tour Brett Kenny had been pushed into the Centres at Test level.

 

http://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/tours/kangaroos-tour-1982/summary.html

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I thought Lewis was a great player based on his impact on SOO, and also v GB in 84, 86 and 88. Vision and leadership, tough guy, great passing, decent short kicking game, very influencial.

 

I saw him during his time at Wakey in 83/84 and he jogged round and took the pee a little, old manning the refs and rarely getting out of second gear. He still looked a cut above his team-mates unsurprisingly.

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In 1982  they played Barrow at Craven Park, Wally was one of the Emus on the 1982 tour and Brett Kenny was the chosen Test 5/8 alongside Sterlo at Halfback

 

http://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/tours/kangaroos-tour-1982/summary.html

Cheers for that, as a kid watching the 82 Kangaroos live at Carlisle and the Tests on telly the 2 that always stick out in my memory are Big Mal and Wayne Pearce, it was only really when Lewis went to Wakefield I really became aware of him. Seem to remember it being reported that he put that many on the gate that Wakefield made a profit on him being there

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He was strong, tough and didnt know when he was beaten........I don't doubt it but.............As a young kid the Aussies came to Barrow to play and I remember being outside the ground as the Aussie bus pulled up as we wanted to glimpse the superstars up close and get autographs etc,  anyhow big daft Eddie Szymila  was walking up to the ground carrying a plastic shopping bag (lol) He suddenly went ape ######, he ran over to the bus ran around until he spotted Wally and went bananas slamming the windows screaming how he was going to kill him etc he ran to the coach door and tried to open it to get on etc, the faces on the Aussies was a picture and Lewis looked shaken to say the least as Eddie was ushered into the ground chomping at the bit, An hour or so later you hardly noticed Wally was actually on the pitch.  

 

:tongue:  Szymala. Mad as a bag of snakes.

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having watched many repeated soo matches on premier sports it left me asking the question was "the king" really that good? or was it a aura built up by the queensland press and public?  to be fair there never seemed to be any electric pace, jinking or sidestepping or anything out of the ordinary, sure he was a good passer grafter and leader but I think there have been much better half backs than him to come fron down under.

 

 

Having won eight State of Origin man of the match awards he must have had something going for him.

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As school kids we were always trying to throw 'Wally Lewis' passes so his reputation certainly flooded through the game in the 1980s.

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I'm always amused that while Wally was busy pulling a supporting Offiah back, Mike Gregory went 60m under the posts himself.

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Errrrr- out of this world IMO.

 

Yes he was of his time, and the game was very different even in the 80's but was a prodigious ball player, organiser, general and leader. A great physical presence too who could mix it with the Forwards and wasn't afraid to get stuck in.

 

The nearest player I can see to him now is Glen Stewart ironically who is a 13!

 

Today he would have been a 13 too.

 

 

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He certainly gave Oldham the run around with his extra ordinary cut out passes, it led to New Zealand international Nick Wright (who played full back for Oldham ) trying to remove his head from his shoulders in a terrible and blatant piece of foul play that got him a red card.

Lewis was a great, tough as teak and elusive,up there with the very best!

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Today he would have been a 13 too.

I think that Wally started at 13.

 

I seem to remember something in Open Rugby about him first making the World XIII at 13 (or 8 as it was in Aus).

 

I think he toured as an RU player possibly at High School/College age - don't think he was ever a Wallaby.

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I believe that he toured with the Queensland RL side around 1980. I've got the programme for their game against Leeds somewhere so will look it out when I can next get to it..

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I think that I have posted this before, but I remember reading an interview with Clive Woodward around the time when England won the RU World Cup - just noticed that I had typed Enbland, which makes me think that there might be something in Freudian slip theory. Anyway, Woodward was asked who, if he could choose from any era or nation, would he add to his current team. He chose Wally Lewis.

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I believe that he toured with the Queensland RL side around 1980. I've got the programme for their game against Leeds somewhere so will look it out when I can next get to it..

It was 1983 and was captain on  the tour.

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So Bedlam Breakout, who regularly tells us that RL isn't as good as it used to be, is now downgrading his view on good players who used to be? Has he/she never just considered the possibility that RL isn't the game for him/her?

simply asking peoples views and memories of wally lewis that's all (since I have been drunk 68 million times since he hung up his boots my memories not that great), its like been asked if you would have rather had hanley or lewis in your dream team, now theres a question

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I don't think Trinity won another game all season when he went back home.

For all his skill and mastery, he managed to spend most of his time in Yorkshire on the lash, and turned up at Wheldon road half cut and played.

I was at that game when he played at Cas. It was like an alien had landed.

He had so much time in possession, as all great players seem to have. The frustration was evident though as the quality of those around him meant that his talents weren't fully exploited....

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I remember watching a GB v. Aus game where GB were on top until Lewis scored a try, Jack Gibson was a summariser and he said in that laconic voice "Australia, looking for a playmaker. Who turns up ? Wally Lewis. Captain".

 

Wally Lewis was a magnificent footballer.  In great Brisbane / Queensland and Australia he was still head and shoulders above the rest.

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I was chatting to my mate from Brisbane and I said that Darren Lockyer is the best player I'd ever seen play the game.

He then said "Darren Lockyer wasn't good enough to pass The King a beer!"

He is also a big Lockyer fan.

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Wally Lewis is the best player I have seen having followed the game closely since the late 70's. He had vision, passing, out of the hand kicking, an eye for a gap and the ability to beat defenders. He wasn't the quickest player but other than that he was the best IMHO by some way.

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