SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: (L-R) Graeme Langlands, Bob Fulton, Andrew Johns, John Raper, Ron Coote and Norm Provan pose on stage after being inducted into the NSW Team of the Century before match one of the ARL State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With recent changes to the Immortal selection process, in addition to the possibility of two new immortals in 2018, the debate around who the ninth and tenth Immortal could be is underway.

5. Frank Burge

Known as one of the best forwards to ever play the game, Frank Burge played from 1911 until 1927 with Glebe and St. George.

Burge represented New South Wales on 18 occasions and Australia 13 times.

Since his death in 1958 Burge has been recognised for his ability during his career. In 2008 Burge was named on the interchange bench in the NRL’s team of the century as well as the New South Wales team of the century.

4. Mal Meninga

Mal Meninga is a Canberra, Queensland and Australia legend. Widely considered to be one of the best centres of the modern era Meninga could well have been the eighth Immortal.

Meninga is the only player to make four Kangaroo tours, captaining two of them, and was named at centre in both the Australia and Queensland teams of the century.

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Meninga also had an incredible point scoring record which left him with many records that have only recently been passed by Jonathan Thurston.

3. Dally Messenger

Dally Messenger represented Eastern Suburbs from 1908 to 1913 and is the player for whom the Dally M player of the year award is named for.

This is not the only prestigious award Messenger has earned, as he was also named on the interchange bench for the Australian team of the century and on the wing for the New South Wales team of the century.

Such was Messenger’s impact during his playing days, a number of experts, including Mal Meninga, believe he should be the ninth Immortal.

2. Darren Lockyer

Darren Lockyer had a terrific career, transitioning from an excellent fullback to an even better five-eighth.

Lockyer played 357 games for the Broncos, 36 for Queensland and 59 for Australia and for many of those matches he was captain. His longevity in the game is incredible, particularly when considering he was still a terrific player by the time he retired.

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Lockyer achieved many awards during his career, such as Clive Churchill and Wally Lewis medals, and is almost certain to become an Immortal at some stage.

1. Norm Provan

Already famous in the game of Rugby League Norm Provan has already been immortalised as one of the men on the NRL’s premiership trophy.

The powerful second row forward played for the Dragons from 1951 to 1965 and also for New South Wales and Australia during that time.

Provan was named at second row in both the Australian and New South Wales teams of the century and was a large part of the St. George Dragons 11 consecutive premiership run.

Though Provan has been overlooked for Immortality status so far, there are many in the rugby league community that believe it is time for him to be inducted into the famous group.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I dont understand why Darren Lockyers name is even being thrown about.Great player ,been good for the game i agree,but an immortal plzz….

    • Same with Meninga, he never even won a Dally M medal. A bit hard to be an immortal if you were never even the best player in the comp for a single season.

  2. The future of the Immortals Concept should be in the distant past, not in the present or just 2 or 3 decades ago.

    Well, if you are going to put Frank Burge into the mix then you will also have to include Dave Brown from the Rorts in the 1930s, Norm Proven, Ron Coote and the most successful Captain Coach of the 50s Jack Rayner 5 Premierships plus 2 Runners-up.

  3. It never made sense to me how a player who retired 5-10 years ago can be an immortal when our game spans 100+ years.

  4. I love all these comments about players that the majority of people have never seen play or even seen footage of. It just shows how futile and stupid the concept is. IT should have died with Rugby League Week and the journalists who created it.

  5. I find it funny when people try to act as if the old footy players who only played the game part time and had day jobs could possible be on par with anyone of today. I get giving them props for their contribution to the game and think that is enough for Immortal status but when people try to claim that some old fart was better at their position than any modern great like Locky or Slater I just have to imagine they’ve taken one too many knocks to the head.

    • its not about comparing them with modern players, it should be more about their standing in the game compared to others of their time….
      of course a modern player with all the science, knowledge gained over 100 years, the training facilities etc etc would be more skilful, be fitter, have more endurance and power than those of old but give those same players all the tools that the current ones have, then you can compare.
      So you’re essentially saying that Slater should be an immortal over Churchill? That would be laughable….
      Thurston over Wally or Bozo?
      Taumalolo over Artie?
      Would a Dave Brown set more records now than he did in his time if he had all the tools at his hand?

  6. In different time zones, some of the ”old farts” you are referring to would equal some of today’s superstars. Think unlimited tackles, fair dinkum scrums, the equipment (like boots, jumpers, footballs, corner posts), a try worth three points and a field goal two.

    It’s impossible to compare but some of them were super stars of their time. How about we allocate one ”old fart” and one modern day player to be an immortal each time we decide to make awards? It’s important to preserve the past. I didn’t see Messenger or Burge play but I did see Provan in his prime and he deserves immortality..

  7. League History books and Statistics tells us how brilliant these players of the past actually were. e.g Frank Burge was the all time try scoring forward (146 tries in 167 games and held that record for over 80 yrs until Menzies broke the record in 2004 But Menzies played more games and many of his tries were scored as a centre three quarter.

    Wikipedia states:
    Upon switching to the professional New South Wales Rugby Football League, Burge was playing first grade for Glebe at age 16 and was selected for the state at age 18. After his attempt to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force was rejected because of a speech impediment, Burge devoted his energies to rugby league.[5] At 93 kilograms or 14 stone 9 pounds and equally effective anywhere in the forwards from lock to prop, he had the speed of a back to complement his strength and an anticipation that made him a support player without peer. Burge was a teetotaller who was way ahead of his time in observing a strict diet, he used coaching concepts familiar in modern sports psychology and upheld an all-year training regime that continued right through the long Sydney summer off-season. He debuted for Australia in the domestic 1914 Ashes series against Great Britain appearing in all three Tests. He is listed on the Australian Players Register as Kangaroo No. 88.[6] Burge was the New South Wales Rugby Football League’s top try-scorer in 1915, 1916 and 1918 an extremely rare feat in even one year for a forward.

    Glebe RLFC 1911 Veteran captain McKivat centre with ball, 17 year old Frank to his left
    On the 1919 tour of New Zealand Burge played in all four tests. In the 1920 season, he was the league’s top point scorer. Burge holds the NSWRFL/NSWRL/ARL/NRL record for most tries in a match, scoring eight in a club match for Glebe in 1920. Again in 1920 he appeared in all three Tests of the domestic Ashes series and then was selected on the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain where he played in all three tests and twenty representative tour matches scoring 33 tries in 23 matches, more than any touring forward before or since. Burge’s representative record shows him appearing in every single Australian Test match played in the war-interrupted eight-year period between 1914 and 1922. He played 16 seasons and 148 first grade games for Glebe and was club captain for many years. His career tally of 146 first grade tries stood for eighty years as the highest by a forward until Manly-Warringah back rower Steven Menzies broke it in 2004.
    St. George[edit]

    Burge back row third from right, coach of Saints’ 1930 team.
    Burge moved to St. George in 1927, retired as a player at the end of that season, and coached the club for a further three seasons. He maintained an average of a try a game for seventeen seasons scoring 218 tries in 213 senior matches with 146 coming from his 154 Sydney first grade matches. That try-scoring tally today stands at eleventh on an all-time list dominated by backs.

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