TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 24: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys is chaired from the ground after playing his last home NRL match during the round 24 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

If winning a Dally M is prestigious, then becoming an Immortal in rugby league is... Well, just that. Immortal.

Someone who's reputation doesn't alter over time, their highlight reel is etched deep within rugby league. What makes an immortal?

We've seen some amazing talent, yet in 113 years of the sport, we have only seen thirteen men crowned immortals. And they are legends.

Clive Churchill, the little master. Reg Gasnier, Puff the magic dragon. 'The King' Wally Lewis, Joey Johns, Dally Messenger (the man the Dally M award is named after), Mal Meninga, the 110kg centre that won premierships as a player and coached Queensland to eight straight.

These are legends of our game. And there's only thirteen.

And for the recent players?

Well I think we could see anywhere between five and seven men from the last DECADE earn the achievement at some point in their lifetime. Player's who don't stand in the spotlight, they own it. Some more surprising then other's, but they all own slice's of history.

Is it individual success? Their highlight reel? Maybe it's team success, the amount of premierships they've won or a high winning percentage. Or do we look at their affect off the field too? Accolades they've collected, rep trophies, games played, tries scored, what defines immortality?

Simply, all of the above.

So here's the seven men that will take rugby league's Immortal men from a party of thirteen to twenty, and they're all welcome company.

And unfortunately, zero of the seven are New South Welshman.

Billy Slater

Clive Churchill will forever be 'the little master' and close to the best fullback in history, but Slater reinvented the position. His speed, his positioning, but most importantly the way he spoke and positioned defensive lines was like no other.

If he didn't miss so much footy in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, he would be close to Ken Irvine's record as the greatest try scorer of all time. Slater (190) finished 22 tries short of Irvine (212). And seeing as only twice in Slater's career were there years where he played 16+ games and scored less than 11 tries.

Plus, that chip and chase try in 2004 will be remembered as one of the best Origin tries in history.

Cooper Cronk

Another member of that Melbourne side, Cronk is an incredibly intelligent person on and off the field, and it shows with his precision and attention to detail. You can just see the amount of hours he's spent before and after training working on his trade.

But more amazingly, in Cronk's 16 years in the NRL, he played in 9 Grand Finals. 9! That means during his career, he made more Grand Finals than he missed. It's a simply amazing statistic, especially in an era with 16 clubs running rampant. As it stands, he's played the second most games in history with 372.

Queensland could never seem to win without him either. But with him? That 40m field goal in the 2012 decider, his first series as a starting half, wow.

Cameron Smith

Where do we start? He's the most capped Queenslander in history, second most in Kangaroos' history, oh, and he's played 411 NRL games. That's nearly 50 more than the second placed Cronk, and Smith is still playing.

He is arguably the most influential player in rugby league history. He doesn't have the spark or the speed, where he wins is the mind. He is simply that much smarter than every other player out there, his rapport with referees see his opinion listened to on field. And he's scored the most points in NRL history.

He is living, breathing legend of our game.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Cameron Smith of the Storm celebrates and holds aloft the NRL Premiership trophy after winning the 2017 NRL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Greg Inglis

This one will be debated. But in terms of physicality, in terms of dominance, there's no one like Greg.

Captained  the game's oldest club in South Sydney, captained his state, captained his culture, GI could turn nothing into something like a click of his fingers, and his move from centre to fullback in 2012 saw him go to another level, find a new gear.

Queensland's greatest try scorer, however he did as much off the field as he did on it, a true leader for all young Indigenous people across Australia, a role model. Is now part of coaching staff at South Sydney, he'll be remembered as not just one of the best Indigenous players in history, but simply one of the best player in the game. Period.

Johnathan Thurston

'JT' doesn't need an introduction. A premiership winner at Canterbury and North Queensland, including that premiership winning field. He's got some Golden Boots and a Clive Churchill medal sitting pretty with his record four Dally M medals. It didn't matter if the Cowboys were sitting first or if they were last, every club feared facing Thurston.

His kicking game was spectacular, and while his defence can't be compared to Joey's, every single opposition linebreak, it was Thurston that was there to make the tackle. Like Inglis, his off field contributions were enormous in the way he gave back to the community. There was nothing like seeing the smile on kid's faces when Thurston handed them their head gear.

There's little debate that he will receive immortality, simply a matter of when not if.

Darren Lockyer

The man that scored the try that won Queensland the first of its eight straight series. A born leader that won multiple Grand Finals with Brisbane, and one of four players in history to crack 350 games.

His transition from fullback to five-eighth was seamless, his leadership qualities as iconic as that raspy voice, and his mental and physical toughness is summed up well by his last ever play for the Broncos, kicking a field goal in golden point of a semi-final, with a fractured cheekbone.

In fact, Lockyer was set to be named an Immortal in 2017, however a change of ownership of the 'Immortal' status from magazine Rugby League Week to the NRL (due to the shutdown of RLW), with the magazine's former managing editor saying Lockyer gaining immortality status in 2017 was a certainty.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Darren Lockyer of the Maroons during game three of the ARL State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 6, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Benji Marshall

The wildcard. The one next to no one will agree with. But hear me out here.

There  is about five or six moments in Grand Final history that could be argued as the greatest Grand Final play of all time, and Benji owns one of them. But that play doesn't define Benji, but Benji defines that style of play.

The flare, the passion, we all remember his highlights, but I'll remember the tears on his face when he played his first test in seven years, captaining New Zealand months later. He's probably in the top three New Zealand players in history alongside Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki. But it's not only his highlight reel, it's the affect he had on rugby league.

When you see kids playing with a footy at the park and they throw a ball behind their back, it's the 'Benji flick'. They want to be just like him. He was idolised by a generation of kids and adults alike that simply wanted to do amazing things on a rugby league field. And for the affect he had on fans, on the way games are played and the broadening of attacking horizons, that rugby union stint should be overlooked, and he should be immortalised.