The best NRL team of the past 20 years: Part one
Melbourne Storm celebrating their teams win over the Manly Sea Eagles. AAP Image/Paul Miller
It is an argument that could quite possibly last forever, depending on which team you support. Over the coming week I am going to try and work out just who was the greatest premiership side of the last twenty years.
After finding one side from the 1990s and a side from the new millennium, we will have a fantasy match to find out whom is the greatest. This is going to be fun.
We will start with the 1990s and a showdown between the 1990 Canberra Raiders and the 1999 Melbourne Storm. Two contrasting styles and two very different sides.
The Raiders of the early 90s were as dangerous as any side I have ever seen.
This is when The Green Machine was truly a juggernaut and everyone feared their attacking ability. From fullback Gary Belcher to the monstrous Mal Meninga. Laurie Daley to Ricky Stuart and a forward pack that boasted Glen Lazarus, Steve Walters and Brent Todd.
The Storm played a completely different style. Under Chris Anderson and halfback Brett Kimmorley, Melbourne played flat and fast.
It may have finished with Kimmorley, but it started in the engine room. Captain Lazarus, Stephen Kearney and Tawera Nikau were the guys that got the Storm moving.
Unfortunately for them, the Raiders would have won 22-10 in a canter.
Next up is a clash between the 1997 ARL Champions Newcastle Knights and the 1998 Brisbane Broncos.
There should be plenty of opinion regarding this one considering all the scandal of the mid 1990s. With the competition split in ’97, the Knights and the Broncos won their respective competitions. Brisbane would follow up by winning the inaugural National Rugby League title.
You have to go with the ’98 Broncos. Despite the Knights having the Johns brothers and Paul Harragon, Brisbane were simply too dominant to pass up.
Alan Langer calling the shots behind a giant forward pack that included Gorden Tallis, Shane Webcke, Brad Thorn and Tonie Carroll. A backline with Darren Lockyer, Steve Renouf and Wendell Sailor?
Hate to say it, but Broncos by 28-8.
The next battle is between the 1995 Sydney Bulldogs and the 1993 Broncos.
Terry Lamb’s men did well just to get to the ‘95 decider after a tumultuous year. They then upset the Manly Sea Eagles at the Sydney Football Stadium to win the last Winfield Cup.
But in this contest, they come up against one of the great sides of the modern era.
The ’93 Broncos were littered with Internationals from 1 to 13 and could challenge any side from any era. Langer, Renouf, Kevin Walters, Willie Carne, Michael Hancock, Chris Johns and Julian O’Neill. That’s some kind of backline.
Broncos over the Bulldogs 32-12.
In part two, we will see the 1991 Penrith Panthers v 1994 Canberra Raiders and the 1992 Brisbane Broncos v 1996 Manly Sea Eagles, before revealing who is the greatest side of the 90s.
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