Who are the five fastest men in the NRL?
Usain Bolt might be the fastest man alive but who is the quickest man in rugby league? The game is filled with genuine speed merchants and here we pick the five fastest players currently in the NRL.
1. Billy Slater
The Australian and Queensland incumbent fullback literally burst on the scene in 2003 and his incisive runs from the back have littered many a Test match, Queensland and Melbourne Storm game. His electric pace and ability to find a hole in the defensive line has been a hallmark of his consistent pace, causing Titan’s coach John Cartwright to describe him as “a freak”. He is now the greatest try-scoring fullback in NRL history.
2. Matt Bowen
It is a measure of Bowen’s extreme pace that he has been able to score the same end-of-length tries this year as before serious injuries curtailed his career in 2008. Bowen is probably best known for his brilliant tries for Queensland and the North Queensland Cowboys during a golden period between 2003 and 2007. Former Australian and Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer called Bowen “a little freak”. That’s why he is number two in this list behind Slater.
3. Ben Barba
Everything you need to know about Barba’s speed is demonstrated after watching his stunningly pacey try against the Parramatta Eels this year. After collecting a grubber kick on his own goal-line, he accelerated past the first defensive wave, jinked and stepped three players, overshot the fullback and ran 50 metres untouched. His Canterbury Bulldogs’ teammate Jonathan Wright commented, “he’s just pure talent. There are no words to describe Benny.” How about lightning quick?
4. Kevin Locke
The Auckland product’s light-footedness was on display before he’d played NRL level, after scoring a blistering 100-metre try and dominating try-scoring feats in the Toyota Cup. His speed off the mark was never in question after scoring a dummy-half try in his Kiwis debut against Australia last year, sidestepping through four defenders to score. Like Barba, he has natural pace and seems to accelerate past defenders with ease.
5. Marika Koroibete
He’s only played two NRL matches but already the Fijian-born winger is being talked up as one of the fastest in the league. Four tries against the Paramatta Eels is just the start of the Koroibete legacy. According to Joel Greig, the man responsible for luring him to the Wests Tigers, he clocked 10.75 in the 100 metres when he was 17 and travelled 20 kilometres each day to get to school. With fellow countrymen Lote Tuquiri and Akuila Uate among those to make their speedy mark on the NRL, Koroibete will surely be next in line for the moniker “Fijian Flyer”.
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