The best NRL team of the past 20 years: Pt 3

Curtis Woodward Roar Guru

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    Welcome to the third instalment of the series, as we are trying to work out just who is the greatest premiership side of the last twenty years.

    In part two, the 1993 Brisbane Broncos took the mantle as the greatest side of the 1990s. Now it’s time to find a side from the new millennium.

    We will have a fantasy match to find out who is the greatest of the ‘93 Broncos and the best of the new millennium.

    First up is a clash between the flamboyant 2005 Wests Tigers and Wayne Bennett’s 2010 St George Illawarra Dragons. It is offence versus defence in this first match-up.

    Let’s get one thing out of the way firstly. Wests didn’t win the 2005 premiership by fluke or accident. They were the rightful winners of the competition and defeated everyone put in their path.

    They won 12 of their last 14 games and disposed of the Brisbane Broncos, the Dragons and the North Queensland Cowboys (twice). There was no fluke about it.

    With Scott Prince and Brett Hodgson leading the way and youngsters Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah in the side, the Tigers were fearless and brilliant.

    Who could stop the Tigers and their enthralling brand of footy?

    Look no further than the 2010 Dragons.

    The 2010 premiers were the epitome of grinding football. They could take a two point lead and hold it from you until the final siren. St George Illawarra could break down a side and keep them in the dirt.

    Could the Tigers score points against these Dragons?

    Probably not enough. Have to go with the Dragons in a tight 16-14 contest.

    Next up is a huge showdown between the 2000 Brisbane Broncos and the 2004 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Where do you start in this one?

    I guess you start where any big match starts and that’s in the middle.

    It’s rare to see a side be so dominant in the National Rugby League and win the grand final with the confidence and even arrogance that the Broncos did.

    This Brisbane forward pack boasted Shane Webcke, Gorden Tallis, Brad Thorn, Kevin Campion, Luke Priddis and Ashley Harrison.

    But the scary thing about these guys wasn’t just the size in the engine room.

    Imagine doing the tough stuff in the middle and then seeing Lote Tuquri, Tonie Carroll, Michael De Vere or Wendell Sailor running at you?

    Sprinkle Darren Lockyer, Ben Ikin and Kevin Walters on top and you have one awesome side.

    Across from them ready for battle are the 2004 Bulldogs. If you want to talk about intimidation, this side had plenty too.

    Mark O’Meley, Roy Asotasi, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan are some pretty damn good forwards to have in your pack. Oh and you can add Sonny Bill Williams and Reni Maitua from the bench.

    Yes I have left Steve Price out of this side as he didn’t play in the decider due to injury.

    If anything, the Broncos have an edge in the backline where the Bulldogs definitely had strike but nothing like their opposition.

    For this reason alone I am going to go with the Broncos by 23-16.

    In part four, we will look at the 2008 Eagles against 2003 Panthers, the 2006 Broncos versus the 2001 Knights and the 2011 Eagles will take on the 2002 Roosters and we will determine the greatest team of the new millennium.

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    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • September 20th 2012 @ 3:58am
      Johnno said | September 20th 2012 @ 3:58am | ! Report

      2000 Broncos it is hard to say if they are the best as they won in the era o unlimited interchange. I think they would have had a more mobile pack if the rules were different, so they relied to much on per a more agile more endurance based team would of worn them down. Roosters didn’t have as powerful pack and almost won, but the broncos only won as they had this power pack that would not be mobile enough with reduced interchanges in my opinion. 2004 dogs had a much better balanced pack men like andrew ryan, and i think you have to include steve price as he was part of the whole season bar 1 game which thurston got the bench spot due to price injury .
      That 2004 dogs side had so much size and balance to it, and good clever kicking game of sherwin and anasta guiding them and a young SBW of course and willie mason in his prime was awesome better than thorn,week, and petro. And Mark o’meley was moor physical than week and petro when he was in is prime, and rein matua was amazing of the bench. Plus the goal kicking of hazem.

    • September 20th 2012 @ 10:52am
      betts said | September 20th 2012 @ 10:52am | ! Report

      Broncos BECAUSE the dogs halves were anasta and sherwin

    • September 20th 2012 @ 11:03am
      Ken said | September 20th 2012 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      Including the Dogs 2004 side is a bit controversial after leaving out the Storm sides. That side was still heavily tainted by the salary cap rorting, with them managing to basically hold the same side together to that point that could not have been assembled otherwise. Speciifically players like Ryan and O’Meley (both current SOO players when bought in 2002) and Anasta (who ‘inexplicably’ turned down huge offers to return to Souths during the rorting), and who knows how many more, would not have been wearing Blue and White in ’04 if it weren’t for the cheating. From 05 onwards the side looked a bit different, but of course they’ve rarely been contenders, or even in the finals, since, this year being an obvious exception.

      You’ve got Brisbane winning anyway but you made a statement by leaving out the Storm sides that would have been up there with the favourites for the ultimate title, might have been better to leave this side alone as well.

      • September 20th 2012 @ 12:22pm
        Andy said | September 20th 2012 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        The dogs 2004 side should have been forced to play for no points.

      • September 20th 2012 @ 2:49pm
        Australian Rules said | September 20th 2012 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        Hard to argue with that Ken.

      • Roar Guru

        September 20th 2012 @ 10:36pm
        apaway said | September 20th 2012 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

        Except that much as it probably galled them, the NRL acknowledge the Bulldogs 2004 premiership but not the Storm’s 2007 or 2009 ones.

    • September 23rd 2012 @ 11:30am
      Phelpsy said | September 23rd 2012 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      WhaT about the storm ?? Win or lose on Sunday they have been awesome for such a long time with probably the greatest player to ever play the game.

    • September 23rd 2012 @ 11:30am
      Phelpsy said | September 23rd 2012 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      WhaT about the storm ?? Win or lose on Sunday they have been awesome for such a long time with probably the greatest player to ever play the game.

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