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With all the talk of the North Sydney Bears potentially coming back into the competition after nearly twenty years of hibernation, it’s time for their top ten players to be revealed.
10. Ben Ikin
Starting with the Gold Coast Seagulls, Ikin moved to the Bears in 1996 after a successful Origin series in 1995 where he would debut for Queensland and score a try. He went on to play 87 games for the Bears, representing Queensland 17 times and playing 2 Tests for Australia.
9. Mario Fenech
Reluctantly, Fenech came to the Bears after a pay dispute at the Bunnies and ended up playing 84 games for the club. Well known for his hardness, Fenech led the game upfront and hit hard if given the chance. Although his most famous move in the NRL would not come until he was at the South Queensland Crushers with the birth of the Golden Falcon, Mario still deserves a mention on this list.
8. David Farleigh
A hard man upfront for the Bears, he played 193 games at the club, scoring 36 tires. In 1994, he won the Rothman’s Medal with a record of 33 votes for for the season. He made ten appearances for New South Wales and played 15 Tests for Australia.
7. Cec Blinkhorn
Blinkhorn started his career with the Bears in 1914 until 1918 – in 1919 he played for the Bunnies. He returned to the bears in 1920 though, being a member of the premiership winning teams of 1921, where the team went undefeated, and 1922 when Norths met Glebe in the grand final. Blinkhorn scored two tries in the match.
He played 93 games at the club and scored 79 tries. He represented New South Wales and Australia four times each.
6. Billy Moore
Moore was a great at lock-forward for the Bears and played 211 games for the club. He was the man who inspired and created the famous “Queenslander” call in the 1995 Origin series and was always a fun player to watch, becoming a Bears great. He played 17 games for Queensland and made three appearances for Australia.
5. Gary Larson
A Bears hard man, Larson would play 233 games for the club and help rebuild them into a premiership contender. A tackling machine, he was the first man to notch up over 50 tackles in a single Origin match. A great example for young players with his no no-nonsense approach, he played 28 games for Queensland and 9 Tests for Australia.
4. Greg Florimo
A Club loyalist, Florimo has the club record for most matches at 284 during his twelve seasons at the club. Scoring 72 tries and three field goals, he was one of only two players ever to score a ten out of ten performance in a match from Rugby League Week.
He is currently the CEO of the club and is the main driver behind getting the club back into the NRL.
3. Jason Taylor
Taylor holds several records at the club – most points (1274), most goals (564) and most points in a season (242). Taylor is without doubt their best ever halfback and one of the most skillful players to ever don a Bears jersey. Like most of the players on this list he never won a premiership
2. Harold Holder
After following his brother Clarence “Spot” Horder to South Sydney, Harold, in his first game, stepped and swerved through the entire Glebe team in a 90-metre dash to score one of the greatest individual tries in rugby league history.
He went on to be the NSW rugby Football League’s top try-scorer in 1913 1914 and 1917 and for each of the four seasons dating 1913, 1914 1918 and 1922, he was the League’s top point-scorer.
In 1918 he overtook Dally Messenger’s record for the most points scored in an NSWRFL career (379); Horder’s eventual total of 758 stood as the new career record for nine seasons until it was bettered by Arthur Oxford in 1927.
Horder was inducted into the Australian rugby league Hall of Fame in September 2004 and as of only one of two members of this list to be a premiership winner he definitely deserves his spot.
1. Ken Irvine
Irvine is not just the greatest Bears player ever – he is one of the best players ever.
Irvine was a try-scoring machine, notching up 212 tries in his career (171 with the Bears alone) and the record still stands to this day. Billy Slater is the only man to come close to this record, currently with 173. From 176 games at the club Irvine was a formidable force on the field – despite this he never won a premiership with the club and went down as the greatest Bear never to win a title. He made 24 appearances for New South Wales and played 31 Tests for Australia
Of course, not everybody can make the list so here are some honourable mentions – Martin Bella, Les Kiss, Peter Jackson, Ross Warner and Billy Wilson.