A little over a year ago I released an article on the website titled 10 players who could be the next Immortal and it may have stirred a little controversy amongst Zero Tackle fans.
So for that reason and due to the fact that we’ve had a whopping five ex-players become immortals since then, lets check on how the 10 players are currently going in terms of becoming immortals.
Not really much to say here. Mal Meninga has been recognised for his contributions to the game, being inducted as an immortal earlier this year.
Lockyer was one of the favourites to be inducted earlier this year but ended up missing out. However, he will likely receive the honour of becoming an immortal after the next voting process, otherwise he will no longer be eligible.
Sterling is currently apart of Channel 9’s commentary team and unfortunately, barely had a mention come immortals voting time. It would be unfortunate if Sterlo was to miss out as he was at the forefront for the Parramatta Eels throughout their reign of dominance in the early to mid 1980’s. Sterlo is still a name that gets thrown around for the honour, however we hope the mentions of Sterling become more prominent in the coming years.
Of course Jonathan Thurston has recently retired, meaning in the near future he will be eligible to become an immortal. Most would agree that it is not a matter of if but when Thurston will become an immortal. As a personal prediction, he may miss out on the next round of induction, which will possibly be due to ineligibility and players with their last opportunity (such as Lockyer) getting the nod.
It would seem that this next player will not become an immortal and it is a shame. Nathan Hindmarsh is one of the greatest defensive players in rugby league history, being the first ever player to reach over 10,000 tackles. However, due to how he is portrayed in the media as “the guy who has never won a premiership and eats a lot”, Hindmarsh is not thought as by most as the amazing player he was. Although how he is portrayed is indeed a running gag on a tv show, it leaves a specific impression of Hindmarsh in a lot of people’s minds, lets just hope those minds do not include those of future immortal voters.
Cameron Smith will likely go around again for the Melbourne Storm and plans to play on in 2019. Smith’s story is similar to that of Thurston as many agree that he WILL become an immortal. However, it likely will not occur for a few years. Another prediction, Smith will likely get inducted with Thurston.
Alexander is currently a commentator for Fox League and is on the Panthers’ board of directors. Alexander is similar to Sterling as he should have been mentioned more prominently for the last round of immortal inductions, but unfortunately missed. Sure, he was acknowledged here or there, however, like Sterling, we hope Brandy gets the honour in the near future.
Alfie Langer is currently a trainer at the Brisbane Broncos and Queensland State of Origin team. Langer like Alexander and Sterling may have not got enough recognition, but hopefully in the near future we will see an immortals shortlist with those three names.
Here we go, the controversial pick from last year. Now there is still a chance that Kalyn Ponga may “flop” like many have said. However, after this season it is really looking unlikely. Ponga has proven that he is the best player in the Newcastle team, exceeding expectations even after the Knights lost form. This year Ponga has been named Newcastle’s equivalent to player of the year, the RLPA’s player of the year, at this point is on the shortlist for the Provan-Summons medal and will at least finish in the top three in the race for the Dally M medal. At this point anything can still happen, but if Ponga continues to play the way he has throughout his entire career then he is basically guaranteed to reach immortal status.
Cronk looked to break away from the Melbourne Storm and become the franchise player for the Sydney Roosters in 2018. Although, he and the Roosters had an inconsistent first half of the year, the Roosters still managed to finish first. However, if Cronk is to be inducted it will be for his numerous achievements at club and rep level throughout his career. Cronk may be less likely to become an immortal due to the amazing generation of players he has played in, with the likes of Smith, Thurston and even Billy Slater likely to be inducted before him.