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The Greatest Rugby League Player of All Time

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2 hours ago, Bob8 said:

Sinfield over Harold Wagstaff does seem a little controversial.

To those making the decision then the name of Wagstaffe would be just a name in a book and they probably just thought that players in that era could never ever be as good as the current ones.

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1 minute ago, RigbyLuger said:

"Super Fans" don't mean they are historians of the game. At least having Sinfield in there has given the RFL plenty of interest in the poll.

If that was the case then it shouldn't be publicised as deciding the best ever player.

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The list proposed was compiled by a very parochial and very stupid English official, to appeal to a very parochial and very stupid English fan readership.

Only Brian Bevan definitely deserves to be in the list, and probably Ellery Hanley. But Kevin Sinfield doesn't deserve to be even  in the greatest British team of all time.

 

How about selecting from the real top team of all time:

 

Billy Slater

 

Brian Bevan, Reg Gasnier, Mal Meninga, Martin Offiah

 

Johnathan Thurston

Andrew Johns

 

Johnny Raper

Ron Coote,  Ellery Hanley

Arthur Beetson, Cameron Smith, Brian McTigue

 

Interchange:   Bobby Fulton, Adrian Morley, Shane Webke, Sonny Bill Williams,

 

Special mention: Wally Lewis, Graeme Langlands, Greg Inglis, Ken Irvine, Steve Rogers, Jamie Lyon, Andrew Ettingshausen, Norm Provan, Steve Walters, Bradley Clyde, Laurie Daley, Brad Fittler, Darren Lockyer, James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Roger Milward,  Billy Boston, Gus Risman, Jamie Peacock,  Dick Huddart, Brian Lockwood, Sam Burgess, Cliff Watson, Alex Murphy, Malcolm Reilly, Vince Karalius, Kevin Ward, Keiron Cunningham, Neil Fox, Stacey Jones, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kevin Iro, Hugh McGahan, Lesley Vainikolo, Henry Paul,  Robbie Paul, Richard Swain, Jason Taumalolo, Jesse Bromwich,  Elie Brousse, Eduard Ponsinet, Puig Aubert, Semi Radradra.

 

No pre-World War 2 players listed, but the standard of conditioning, speed, and general ability has soared since 1945.

The back line selection should be beyond dispute. 

Sonny Bill Williams would deserve his interchange selection based upon his career height performances with the Sydney Roosters in 2013, not based upon his performances in 2020.

The special mention list consists of players who were up to or almost up to the standard of the top 13. In particular I would specify Wally Lewis, Graeme Langlands, Greg Inglis, Malcolm Reilly, Billy Boston, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, as unlucky not to be in the top 13.

Edited by Manfred Mann
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6 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

The list proposed was compiled by a very parochial and very stupid English official, to appeal to a very parochial and very stupid English fan readership.

Only Brian Bevan definitely deserves to be in the list, and probably Ellery Hanley. But Kevin Sinfield doesn't deserve to be even  in the greatest British team of all time.

 

How about selecting from the real top team of all time:

 

Billy Slater

 

Brian Bevan, Reg Gasnier, Mal Meninga, Martin Offiah

 

Johnathan Thurston

Andrew Johns

 

Johnny Raper

Ron Coote,  Ellery Hanley

Arthur Beetson, Cameron Smith, Brian McTigue

 

Interchange:   Bobby Fulton, Adrian Morley, Shane Webke, Sonny Bill Williams,

 

Special mention: Wally Lewis, Graeme Langlands, Greg Inglis, Ken Irvine, Steve Rogers, Jamie Lyon, Andrew Ettingshausen, Roger Milward,  Billy Boston, Gus Risman, Jamie Peacock,  Dick Huddart, Brian Lockwood, Sam Burgess, Cliff Watson, Alex Murphy, Malcolm Reilly, Vince Karalius, Kevin Ward, Keiron Cunningham, Neil Fox, Stacey Jones, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kevin Iro, Hugh McGahan, Lesley Vainikolo, Henry Paul,  Robbie Paul, Richard Swain, Jason Taumalolo, Jesse Bromwich,  Elie Brousse, Eduard Ponsinet, Puig Aubert

 

No pre-World War 2 players listed, but the standard of conditioning, speed, and general ability has soared since 1945.

The back line selection should be beyond dispute. 

Sonny Bill Williams would deserve his interchange selection based upon his career height performances with the Sydney Roosters in 2013, not based upon his performances in 2020.

The special mention list consists of players who were up to or almost up to the standard of the top 13. In particular I would specify Wally Lewis, Graeme Langlands, Greg Inglis, Malcolm Reilly, Billy Boston, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, as unlucky not to be in the top 13.

What source did this 'real top team of all time' come from?

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7 hours ago, aj1908 said:

Hanley not in the top five but not far off imo 

He got found out a bit against the kangaroos 

Give yourself an uppercut.

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5 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

What source did this 'real top team of all time' come from?

My fantastic brain. Where else?

Which of those top 13, or even top 17, would you dispute?

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4 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

My fantastic brain. Where else?

Which of those top 13, or even top 17, would you dispute?

There are quite a few I didn't see play and so I cannot really comment on them but of the 17 I would definitely have Darren Lockyer over Slater at full back and Lewis over Thurstan at 6.

It's all opinions anyway... I was just checking that your team wasn't one that had been selected by an expert panel somewhere rather than your fantastic brain (that does sound a little "very stable genius" though!)

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16 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

There are quite a few I didn't see play and so I cannot really comment on them but of the 17 I would definitely have Darren Lockyer over Slater at full back and Lewis over Thurstan at 6.

It's all opinions anyway... I was just checking that your team wasn't one that had been selected by an expert panel somewhere rather than your fantastic brain (that does sound a little "very stable genius" though!)

You are right about it all being opinions. However I have placed a lot of weight on the Australian list of Immortals (formerly chosen by rugby league journalists only, but now by a special panel of journalists and former players set up by the NRL), as well as by opinions expressed in the British rugby league media and on this forum. Though not totally in the latter case, since I regarded the award of Golden Boot to Kevin Sinfield as an appalling misjudgment at the time. I have seen most of the players listed actually play, though not Brian Bevan (who is though, it should be noted, on the announced short list for future membership of the Immortals).

You are also correct about the "very stable genius" comparison. Perhaps I have been infected by the poisonous rhetoric of Donald Trump. 

In Australia, the expert opinion would probably regard it as a close call to prefer Lewis over Thurston, even though Lewis's nick name is "King Wally." However it  is almost unanimous there that Billy Slater is the greatest full back of all time, and he is mentioned often as a future Immortal, much more so than Darren Lockyer. It should also be noted that Lockyer, unlike Slater, was a weak defender. Slater's defence was one of his strengths.

Edited by Manfred Mann

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49 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

Only Brian Bevan definitely deserves to be in the list, ....

So how good a prop-forward was he to deserve the title of best ever player ?

EDIT  Manfred is "Confused" ... 

OK Bevan scored the most tries but does that really make him the best overall player of all time ? Yes he did the job he was there for but so do prop forwards or those in any other position ... so why, in a team game, should a winger be thought of as any better than a prop-forward ?

A prop couldn't score the tries but a winger couldn't pack down and get the ball for him to do so.

Edited by RL does what Sky says
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8 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

It is almost unanimous there that Billy Slater is the greatest full back of all time, and he is mentioned often as a future Immortal, much more so than Darren Lockyer. It should also be noted that Lockyer, unlike Slater, was a weak defender.

It should also be noted that Lockyer was a much better captain than Slater, and a much better ball player and much less prone to brain fart mistakes.

I know you decided to put a laughing emoji next to my post and Slater was a great player but is it so laughable that I happen to think that the most capped Australian player of all time was a better full back?

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1 minute ago, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

The great Neil Fox 

Fox was an outstanding player for Great Britain, but who would select him ahead of Gasnier or Meninga? 

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1 minute ago, Dunbar said:

It should also be noted that Lockyer was a much better captain than Slater, and a much better ball player and much less prone to brain fart mistakes.

I know you decided to put a laughing emoji next to my post and Slater was a great player but is it so laughable that I happen to think that the most capped Australian player of all time was a better full back?

The laugh emoji was in reaction to the apt "very stable genius" comparison, not to your opinion of Lockyer vs Slater.

I don't know how many "brain fart" mistakes Slater made in his career, even though the ridiculous pass that led to a New Zealand try will always be remembered. I don't recall too many others.

Lockyer was a good captain, but Slater never had a chance to be tested as a captain because  his team mate Cameron Smith was always holding that position when Slater was playing for Melbourne, Queensland and Australia.

Most capped player is an impressive achievement. But it cannot override the fact that Slater was a great defender, preventing almost as many opposition tries, perhaps more, as he scored, while Lockyer was a weak defender, especially when playing at full back. That seems to me to be a far more important criterion of greatness. 

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55 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

No pre-World War 2 players listed, but the standard of conditioning, speed, and general ability has soared since 1945.

Agree on that but that didn't make the players before that time any less skillful at the game they played.

You have selected your team on today's standards but the team to be decided is the best of ALL TIME.

If we follow your example then is any current mediocre heavyweight boxer better than Muhammad Ali ever was because fitness levels, conditioning standards, etc have improved since his time ?

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6 minutes ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Agree on that but that didn't make the players before that time any less skillful at the game they played.

You have selected your team on today's standards but the team to be decided is the best of ALL TIME.

If we follow your example then is any current mediocre heavyweight boxer better than Muhammad Ali ever was because fitness levels, conditioning standards, etc have improved since his time ?

Fyi, that wasn't my line that you have quoted. 

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12 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

The laugh emoji was in reaction to the apt "very stable genius" comparison, not to your opinion of Lockyer vs Slater.

I don't know how many "brain fart" mistakes Slater made in his career, even though the ridiculous pass that led to a New Zealand try will always be remembered. I don't recall too many others.

Lockyer was a good captain, but Slater never had a chance to be tested as a captain because  his team mate Cameron Smith was always holding that position when Slater was playing for Melbourne, Queensland and Australia.

Most capped player is an impressive achievement. But it cannot override the fact that Slater was a great defender, preventing almost as many opposition tries, perhaps more, as he scored, while Lockyer was a weak defender, especially when playing at full back. That seems to me to be a far more important criterion of greatness. 

Ok, fair enough on the emoji.

I'm not 100% sure where this idea that Lockyer was a weak defender came from... I certainly don't remember that from his playing days. And the fact he transitioned to 6 later in his career and defended in the front line surely showed he was no weak link.

He may have missed a few tackles but who doesn't, there is one clip I remember of Slater being thrown off like a rag doll by one ball carrier. 

I am not negative about Slater at all but I think Lockyer was a better all round player and essentially the prototype for the modern full back we see today.

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1 hour ago, Manfred Mann said:

No pre-World War 2 players listed, but the standard of conditioning, speed, and general ability has soared since 1945

Agree on that but that didn't make the players before that time any less skillful at the game they played.

You have selected your team on today's standards but the team to be decided is the best of ALL TIME.

If we follow your example then is any current mediocre heavyweight boxer better than Muhammad Ali ever was because fitness levels, conditioning standards, etc have improved since his time ?

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Of those players mentioned by me and others as the best, I would choose Andrew Johns as the greatest player of all time. He revolutionised half back play, especially with his  field kicking game (he invented the "banana" kick), his ability to read the game better than anyone else, his passing, and his powerful defence (which Thurston and other famous halves did not have). He was also one of the great goal kickers of all time.

Andrew Johns' prominent current role as a TV commentator in Australia for Channel 9 regularly demonstrates his brilliant mastery of analysing the game. 

Close behind Johns I would pick Arthur Beetson, undoubtedly the greatest prop of all time, who developed greatly under the fitness regimen of master coach Jack Gibson, and who dominated prop forward play during his era with his powerful strength, running metres, and offloads.

I was lucky enough to meet "Big Artie" a few times, once at an England vs Australia test at Wigan, and another time at Westminster, where he was receiving an award, when I was lucky enough to be able to have a photograph taken of us together with two others, and with his arm around my shoulder. He was a very friendly and down to earth man, even humble I would say. His premature death from a heart attack was a huge loss to the game.

Edited by Manfred Mann

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2 hours ago, Manfred Mann said:

However it  is almost unanimous there that Billy Slater is the greatest full back of all time, and he is mentioned often as a future Immortal, much more so than Darren Lockyer. It should also be noted that Lockyer, unlike Slater, was a weak defender. Slater's defence was one of his strengths.

Wow. I'm not sure what Australian media you are reading but you're off the mark by a mile.

Billy Slater is definitely considered to be the best fullback of all time but not by much. Lockyer is considered a future immortal. He was the world's best player in two different positions. 

He was probably a top 3 fullback and possibly best five-eighth of all time.

Slater won't be an immortal.


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I can't comment on the others but Lewis' inclusion is interesting.

He would be scraping into a top 5 Australian players at best.

Smith, Lockyer, Thurston and Johns all ahead of him comfortably.

Then players like Slater, Langer, Meninga are around his level.


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