The Roar
The Roar


NRL team of the decade

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Roar Guru
29th July, 2019
1023 Reads

Over the last ten years we seen some greats and even some future immortals taken field during one of the most diverse and memorable times in our game.

We have seen dynasties in State of Origin and new Premiership winners in the Cowboys and Sharks. Some players have been picked out their position to ensure the best 17 are chosen.

Billy Slater
The player that other fullbacks get compared to – the one that all fullbacks study and try and emulate. Perfect defensive always in the right spot, was a nightmare to kick to as he always read the mind of the opposition halves.

Plus Slater had a habit of scoring tries with his blazing speed, a key member of the Melbourne Storm and Queensland success. The perfect fullback.

Jarryd Hayne
He didn’t play a whole lot of wing but was too good to leave out the team. At his best he could win games all by himself, perhaps one of the most talented players ever to play rugby league with his strength, footwork and ball skills.

He made the NFL without any experience whatsoever. He did struggle to find consistency at times, but when he put it all together like in 2009 and 2014 he was a like a cheat code.

Greg Inglis
This generation’s version of Mal Meninga, ‘GI’ was just simply way too big and fast to be an outside back.

Coupled with his fend he was one the hardest players to tackle one on one. The amount of attention he drew from opposition is a testament to the great challenge he presented to stop.

The leading try scorer in State of Origin and was critical part bringing Souths a first premiership in over 40 years.


Jamie Lyon
He didn’t look nowhere near as physically intimidating as Inglis, but don’t be mistaken – Lyon was one of the most skilful. He just had footy smarts.

A very consistent player who flick pass and put through deft grabbers, he played for NSW and Australia. Lyon was grand final winner and won centre of the year four times.

Semi Radradra
For a winger to be not only best player but most influential player on-field when he played highlights how incredible Semi was.

Built out of granite, he had barely any body fat and was fast – what else do you want for a winger?

Known for his countless length of field tries, he was an aerial threat.

Parramatta Eels winger Semi Radradra

Parramatta Eels winger Semi Radradra. (Naparazzi / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Johnathan Thurston
One of the greatest halves to ever play, JT was mix of creativity, skill and toughness – but his incredible will to win is his greatest trait.

The Cowboys were a nothing team before he came and made a grand final is his first year with them. He broke the record by winning four Dally M Medals, proving his incredible consistency.


Cooper Cronk
The closest thing you will get to a robot on the field, Cronk is known for the fundamentals: defence, pinpoint kicking and his famous inside ball to Billy Slater.

Cronk lived in the shadows of Thurston and Darren Lockyer but when he demonstrated why he was one of the the halfbacks in NRL. Winner of two Dally M Medals, a Clive Churchill medal winner and five-time grand final winner.

Jesse Bromwich
Despite never getting the recognition like other stars in Melbourne, this New Zealand international but his game is good enough to deserve a spot in this team.

He is agile and tall yet muscular enough to bash and lower his body over the advantage line. Bromwich is known for almost always making 100m plus.

Cameron Smith
He has won pretty much all there is to win, played most Tests, Origins and NRL games. He scored most points in NRL history.

Smith’s uncanny ability to surgically dissect a defence. He can control the tempo of a game a also show incredible leadership abilities. One of the greats .

David Klemmer
Aggression, power and intensity – he has been a one of the best props ever since his debut. Klemmer is almost a guarantee to make ten plus metres every run he makes.

He has learnt to harness his aggression finally, as he could be prone to brain explosions earlier in his career.


Sam Burgess
The arguably greatest player from England, Burgess was key in bringing Souths their first premiership in 40 years despite playing with a fractured cheekbone.

It’s noticeable when he isn’t playing at Souths that they lack go forward. He can change the game on both sides of the ball and also with his leadership.

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

Jason Taumalolo
It’s quite unbelievable that one man can be built like the hulk and yet have the footwork of winger.

The first non-hooking forward to win the Dally M Medal – a remarkable achievement given he doesn’t play 80 minutes.

Paul Gallen
May not be the most popular player but hard to deny him as one the best players in the decade. In his prime he was an 80-minute workhorse while using his stocky frame to help him top the metre count.

Gallen known for taking on and mostly dominating the opposition’s forward pack leader. He has lead Sharks and NSW to drought-breaking wins.

Luke Lewis
Matt Scott
Boyd Cordner
Andrew Fifita


Luke Lewis was the ultimate utility player. He won a grand final as winger with Penrith and a second rower with the Sharks, where he also won a Clive Churchill.

Matt Scott is an old school no nonsense prop who is hard to tackle.

Cordner has been one of the best edge back towers for some time and has captained his club and state to grand final wins.

Fifita on his day is a nightmare for the opposition. Fifita is very agile for a player weighing over 110kg and great off-loader of the ball.