This article, written by Steve Mascord, originally appeared in issue 398 of Rugby League World magazine. Issue 399 is currently in production and will be on sale from June 6. Click here to find out more about the magazine and to browse back issues click this link…
Last month, Greg Inglis scored one of the greatest individual tries on record.
I’m sure you’ve seen it; he beat seven defenders on a 90 metre run playing for South Sydney against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
If not, here it is again.
But just where does it rank? In era where a trans-Tasman Test can glibly be called the biggest mismatch in sport (when there are probably 100 bigger played every weekend), how does Inglis compare with some of the greats?
I had a look at Martin Offiah at Wembley in 1994 and Paul Sterling against the much-missed Adelaide Rams in 1997.
Closer to these parts, I checked out Eric Grothe in 1983 and Jarryd Hayne in 2009. In our judgement, for distance covered, defenders beaten and sheer physicality, Inglis eclipsed them all.
So we were left with tries that we did not see ourselves, either live or on YouTube. Veteran reporter Ian Heads offered up one Serge Marsolan, the French winger, who ran from behind his own line and kicked twice to score in the 1970 World Cup.
But I was particularly enchanted by this account of a Brian Bevan try in 1949, repeated in Robert Gates’ The Great Bev. The report was originally written by one Homer Genn.
“Against Stanley he received an unexpected pass, almost on his own line, which necessitated his turning round and gathering a dancing impish ball, and then viewing a possible objective which lay some 100 yards away. Facing him was the whole Stanley team who, in addition to 11 of his colleagues-24 players in all, were scattered here, there and everywhere.
“To get through such congestion looked utterly impossible, and let it be remembered that despite their shortcomings, Stanley have a reputation for being gallant, enthusiastic and determined defenders.
“Bevan sized up the situation in a flash. He sprinted forward at full speed in a straight line, until he had the whole opposition moving wingwards, and then he switched inside and set a diagonal course.
“It was from this point that the movement became majestic and delightfully rhythmic in its execution and viewed from the vicinity of the press box was indeed a poetic joy. Here we saw the long raking strides suddenly shortened as he accelerated, his body swaying and swerving as he evaded would-be tacklers and his almost invisible side-step as he flashed through each opening as it presented itself.
“It was fitting that a final desperate effort by the last defender should fail, as with energy exhausted, Bevan reached his objective, prompting a prolong burst of cheering.”
This is what used to pass for a video replay. They certainly don’t write ‘em like that anymore.