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Immortal announcement reflects the best of rugby league

Big Mal is a remarkable coach, something you might not have said ten years ago. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Roar Guru
1st August, 2018
3

Rugby league is a fantastic game with wonderful people.

The game’s history is filled with characters from all walks of life. Usually, many who play or have played and who follow the game can pick the sport apart and find things to argue about.

However, they do so because of one shared belief – that rugby league is the greatest game of all and they only want it to be better.

The addition of players to the Hall of Fame and Immortals was a perfect example of the game coming together to showcase the best of the sport.

The National Rugby League’s Hall of Fame night in Sydney was a spectacular event. It celebrated the past and gave recognition to some incredibly talented, gifted and exciting players.

To all at the NRL who revised the Hall of Fame and the Immortals concept and participated in bringing this event to life – well done; you did an excellent job. You reminded me of why I love this game as much now as an adult as did when I was a child.

I was lucky enough to see Mal Meninga play. I had him as the best centre in my all-time 17. Though being a child of the 80s, I never saw any of the other four inducted Immortals play; I was happy to see them all get elevated to the highest level.

mal-meninga-rugby-league-nrl-2016

Big Mal is now an Immortal (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

You look at their records and if you read the historical accounts, it is almost impossible to argue against any of them being on the Immortal list.

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Overall, I think rugby league is finally getting its system right with recognising the past. Though, I’m curious to see what happens if when they have to nominate an Immortal and there isn’t a player of that calibre available.

I predict in the future, current players such as Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater may be added – however, we don’t know if players of this ability are going to continue to come along.

Under the current rules, an Immortal will be added every four years, but we may have just experienced a golden period of the game and we may go through a period where no one stands out. I hope I am wrong as I love watching the greats. I am just wondering do they change the rules for such a situation.

Regarding the Hall of Fame, I was fortunate enough to see five of the six nominated players in action. I never saw Mark Graham, but have heard the stories. I did witness the others live and they were a cut above the rest. I loved watching Cliff Lyons for his skill and Gorden Tallis for his passion. All six were phenomenal players.

In the end, a big congratulations to the inducted players and their families of both the Hall of Fame and the Immortals. Thank you for bringing joy to the lives of many.