BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys during the round two NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

10 players who could be the next Immortal

Over the past few years, the idea of the rugby league Immortal has become increasingly prestigious, with becoming an Immortal the equivalent of joining the Hall of Fame in other sports.

There has been plenty of speculation as to who will be the game’s ninth immortal following Andrew Johns being announced as the eighth in 2012.

Here are 10 players who could be named as the next Immortal (in no particular order).

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Mal Meninga

ENGLAND – 1994: Mal Meninga of the Kangaroos poses for a photo during the Australian Kangaroos Rugby League photocall for the upcoming tour of Great Britain held in England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The list begins with the runner up in the 8th immortal decision. Mal Meninga has quite the resume for the spot of immortal number 9.

He has won 3 premierships with the Canberra Raiders as their captain, played 32 games for the Queensland Origin team and 46 games for Australia at representative level.

He’s even made history in today’s game coaching Queensland to 8 Origin wins in a row. He’s also won multiple individual awards, winning the Golden Boot in 1989, back to back Dally M Centre of the Year awards in 1990 and 1991, Rugby League Week Player of the Year in 1990, and Dally M Captain of the year twice in 1991 and 1994.

If that isn’t enough, Meninga has scored a total of 1,683 points in his professional career.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Darren Lockyer was a useless defender in a great team, what did hindy do that Beaver didn’t. and alfie isnt much better then Cliffy or Terry Lamb,.

  2. Pretty ridiculous to put Ponga in here. He’ll probably turn into a sensational player but to put him on a list as possible future immortal is outrageous, the kid hasn’t even played 10 games

  3. Hindmarsh and Ponga, that’s gotta be a gee-up. Maybe they meant Pongia. Ponga has hardly played first grade yet.
    To me, an Immortal is a player who is truly exceptional. I think they’ve basically got the Immortals right so far. After the greats of the 60s-70s like Fulton, Langlands and Beetson, the greatest since have been Lewis and Johns, both Immortals.
    To me, the standout is Smith. Apparently you can’t be an Immortal until after you retire, so for Smith it might be a long time yet. Like Cliffy Lyons he looks like he could play until he’s 50.
    I get what people say about Thurston but to me he’s a great player, right up there with someone like Lockyer, but still short of Johns.
    It’s a joke that Slater didn’t rate a mention.

    • Disagree about Thurston, I’d take him over Johns any day of the week.

      Agree about Slater though, of the current crop of non-retired players he is for me the most obvious pick. He changed the way fullbacks play, that’s a pretty big deal IMO.

      • It’s a matter of opinion but I’d have Johns ahead of Thurston. I’d rate him ahead in defence, mistake-rate, game management and the ability to influence games. He also made other players so much better – a bloke like George Carmont was useless without Johns on the field. I’m going from memory here, but in the 2001 GF, Johns destroyed Parra in the first half – 24 nil at 1/2 time, game effectively over. Thurston didn’t have the same influence in 2015 GF, in fact it was Morgan’s play that got NQ to extra time. You’re right about players changing the game – Johns revolutionised the kicking game. None of this is to put Thurston down, I just rate Johns better.

  4. Whoever wrote this has got absolute rocks for brains. I created an account specifically to write this comment because of how wrong this article is. There are realistically only a handful of people who could be considered

    Norm Provan
    Ron Coote
    Darren Lockyer
    Cameron Smith
    Jonathon Thurston

  5. Its obvious this is a pub discussion based on the names thrown up, you know the ones, 10pm at night after a skinful and you and your mates are debating ridiculous things.
    Anyway for what its worth, for those of us under the age of 50 its hard to know what the players that played prior to about he mid-late 70’s were like, you hear anecdotes of their glorious deeds on the paddock, the great Dragons teams, souffs, the Magpies and so on but how much of it is fact and not just urban legend that has grown as the years pass by – i don’t know, so cant really comment on them.
    The 70’s and 80’s are fairly well represented but to me, as an eels fan, its not Sterlo, its not Bert, or Grothe Sr, it would have to be the Crow. Up there with big Mal as the premier Centre and toe-poker of his time. But not necessarily a given.
    From the 90’s it has to be Freddy in line for consideration – youngest ever Kangaroo, NSW Captain, Aust Captain, Roosters premiership winning captain, grand final captain on 4 occasions, rothmans medal winner and played 336 games.
    If Lockyer is to be considered, surely Renouf, Webcke and a couple of others from that star studded “salary-cap compliant” Broncos team should be alongside him…
    From the current players, only Thurston and Smith should be considered and only once they have retired from all forms of the game.

  6. Beaver for me, he played in the forwards and what he did in his career was amazing. Smith and Jt currently. Ponga mate seriously, hes played what 5 games and done nothing. If we are going of unders 20s fullbacks scoring plenty of tries you could say half the fullbacks of the last 10 year’s should be immortals. What a stupid suggestion.

    • beaver should be discounted due to his antics on the matty johns show…..all those pingas and dancing….yeah nope!

    • When posting this I knew I’d get some stick for Ponga. It is very easy to see why he would be a stupid suggestion and there is proven talent that at the moment would be a better choice, but with that being said with Ponga’s choice I was looking to the future. As the title states it is 10 players who COULD be NRL’s next immortal. Do I honestly think he will be the next immortal? No. It is just an idea, a possibility. As I referred to in the post he could be one of the greatest of all time or his career could go south. Ponga’s pick was representing the future of rugby league, of course he may not be an immortal one day but while we are talking about players from the past and present why not the future? It was just speculation really nobody knows at this point in time. I’m not having a go or anything because it’s your opinion I just wanted to better explain the reasoning behind the pick so hopefully you can see my point of view.

      • Thats how I took it. At the end of the day, although highly unlikely, it could be another 15 years before an immortal is named, which might throw Ponga into the mix

        Personally I think it will be Meninga, he just missed out last time and I don’t think Lockyer will get it before him. I might sound a bit bias, but I cannot understand why Sterlo isn’t given more weight in the discussion. He was an outstanding player and his accolades show this.

  7. It’s a matter of opinion but I’d have Johns ahead of Thurston. I’d rate him ahead in defence, mistake-rate, game management and the ability to influence games. He also made other players so much better – a bloke like George Carmont was useless without Johns on the field. I’m going from memory here, but in the 2001 GF, Johns destroyed Parra in the first half – 24 nil at 1/2 time, game effectively over. Thurston didn’t have the same influence in 2015 GF, in fact it was Morgan’s play that got NQ to extra time. You’re right about players changing the game – Johns revolutionised the kicking game. None of this is to put Thurston down, I just rate Johns better.

  8. Lockyer would be next in line . Still the most games in the NRL . The aussie captain an also played over 50 games for his country (not real sure but think he’s still the highest try scorer for the aussie’s) , 4 Grand Finals (won) and a dead set TOP BLOKE to meet. O and a QUEENSLANDER .

  9. Hindmarsh = LOL… never won a premiership. Might as well put Brian Fletcher in there as well
    Alexander = LOL….. oh pleeeeease
    Ponga = LOOOOLLLL….someone is smoking something. Kid hasn’t even got a starting spot in 1st grade yet.

  10. I have no idea about your qualifications to write the above article, but given that a player MUST be retired for at least 5 years to qualify for consideration as an Immortal nearly half your list are ineligible. As for who will be elevated the two stand out candidates are Norm Provan and Mal Meninga. Yes. Lockyer will come into consideration, but the other two have undeniable claims; one played in finals football for 18 seasons, played in 10 winning Grand Finals -4 as captain & coach & played 255 first grade games in a ten team competition. Big Mal is the first player to go on 4 full Kangaroo tours, 2 as captain. His career also includes premierships and Origin games.
    When the others get near these qualifications we will consider them.

  11. As in AFL , sometimes immortals / hall of fame inductees can be leave many scratching their heads . If Barry Hall is a legend of AFL , who knows Hindmarsh might be a chance .
    Sterling , Thurston and Smith are my standouts and was never a fan of Lockyer but we all have differing opinions. Not a Parra fan but their 80’s team is the best side or backline, I have seen and while he was never a brilliant attacking player . Ray Price was one of the best I’ve seen . He gave it all , 120% . He would be battered , dragged up off the ground and never stop or give up . Champions / Legends never give in and have a will to win . Ray never had the skills of most others but tried and put more effort into winning which made him an immortal in my eyes . As I said , it’s only an opinion.

  12. This was an interesting read until I got to Hindmarsh, then thought it was a complete garbage until I saw Ponga listed…Ponga…seriously

  13. The whole concept lacks credibility so long as the name of 10 times premiership immortal non-drinking/drug taker Norm Provan continues to be unrecognised as an ‘immortal’.

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