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Opinion

Brisbane's greatest NRL team

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Roar Guru
20th October, 2020
51

In 2015, I wrote a series of articles about the greatest teams of every NRL side, as it’s been five years, there have been plenty of new players emerging.

I wish to update every team’s greatest XVII and, after that, every team will enter in a tournament of fantasy warfare to decide the greatest of the greatest teams.

As these teams are going to hypothetically play each other, you can’t have the same player on two different teams. Therefore, whoever that player played more games for will have first priority. For example, Greg Inglis would be in both Melbourne and South Sydney’s greatest teams but, since he played more for Souths, he will play for the Rabbitohs.

Similarly, Tim Sheens will only be available to coach Canberra and not Wests Tigers, as he coached more games for them.

1. Darren Locker
59 caps for Australia, 36 for Queensland, Clive Churchill Medal winner, two-time Golden Boot winner

One of the modern greats, the NRL’s most capped player and Australia’s most capped player was the best in the world in two positions, however, his best days were in the number one jersey.
He changed the way fullbacks play with his ball skills and was instrumental in the Broncos winning four premierships. Brisbane’s greatest ever player.

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2. Wendell Sailor
16 caps for Australia, 14 for Queensland
Scoring 110 tries from 189 games, Sailor was the best winger from the 90s, and his ability to rack up metres like a forward was a true asset for the Broncos. Shame he went to rugby, as he could have been an all-time great. The knock on him was he didn’t really fire at Origin level.

3. Steve Renouf
11 caps for Australia, ten for Queensland

“The Pearl” was a try-scoring machine, his 142 tries in 183 making him Brisbane’s all-time leading try scorer. Scored a quadruple on five occasions and his hat-trick in the 1997 Super League grand final saw him awarded man of the match – a rare feat for a centre.

4. Justin Hodges
24 caps for Queensland, 13 for Australia, 2007 centre of the year
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his talent. The tall, powerful Hodges has a knack of setting up his winger and making breaks with his amazing footwork. One of the best players to run out of dummy half, time and time again he picked up 20 metres with a simple sidestep.

5. Michael Hancock
14 caps for Queensland, 13 for Australia, 1997 winger of the year
Hancock’s pace and wide-legged running style allowed him to easily change direction. Bagged 122 tries, making him second on the Broncos’ all-time try-scoring list.

6. Kevin Walters
20 caps for Queensland, 11 for Australia

I understand Wally Lewis is an Immortal, but he didn’t play well at all for the Broncos. Walters, on the other hand, guided Brisbane to premierships, and he and Alfie Langer were the team’s greatest halves pairing.

7. Alfie Langer
24 caps for Australia, 34 for Queensland, Clive Churchill Medal winner, and four-time halfback of the year

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Although only standing at 165cm, Langer played well above his size. His bursts of speed around the ruck terrorised defences, while his dangerous grubbers made him one of the best playmakers his era.

8. Shane Webcke
25 caps for Australia, 24 for Queensland, three-time prop of the year

A no-excuse, hardworking prop, Webcke may have not been the most talented player but he was a leader of men and head of a pack that was integral to Brisbane’s success.

9. Kerrod Walters
Seven caps for Queensland, eight for Australia, two-time hooker of the year

Kerrod and twin brother Kevin formed one of the greatest family combinations. His spark and flair from dummy half was a driving factor in the Broncos’ glory years.

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10. Glenn Lazarus
21 caps for Australia, 19 for NSW, prop of the year
“The Brick with Eyes” was one of best props in the world, his large frame making him a nightmare to tackle. A big-game player, he won three premierships with different teams.

11. Brad Thorn
The Kiwi-born forward has had one of the most unique careers in sport. Thorn turned down offers to play for the Kiwis in league to play Origin for Queensland, then for Australia, before switching to rugby to play for the All Blacks.

One of the best dual internationals, he has the distinction of winning an NRL grand final, State of Origin series, World Club Challenge, Rugby World Cup and a Super Rugby title.

12. Gorden Tallis
13 caps for Australia, 17 for Queensland, second row of year, Clive Churchill Medal Winner

The former St George forward was one of the most aggressive players ever, which sometimes got the best of him, he was ruthless and often would intimidate his opponents with his ruthless play. Tallis simply dominated his opponents – there was no finer example than when he dragged Brett Hodgson into touch in Origin.

13. Corey Parker
12 caps for Australia, 16 for Queensland, RLIF lock of year, Wally Lewis Medal winner

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Parker’s consistency and amazing longevity gets him a nod in the starting squad. Even playing in his 30’s he was one of the best locks going around, and his ability to kick goals showed his rare talent. His offloading skill was his best asset, having caused so many problems for the Blues.

Bench: Shaun Berrigan, Gene Miles, Petero Civenoceva and Matt Gillet

Coach: Wayne Bennett: Coach for all six of Brisbane’s grand final wins, Bennett was the inaugural coach for Brisbane and spent 24 seasons with the club and they have never looked like a title threat without him being there.

The starting team stays in place, however, there are some changes on the bench with Matt Gillet in for Tonie Carroll. Gillet was the best second-rower for some time, winning second-rower of the year twice plus 12 caps for Australia and 20 for Queensland.

Gillet just beat out Sam Thaiday for the last spot as Gillet’s peak was a little bit longer then Thaiday’s. Shaun Berrigan won the 2006 Clive Churchill medal, and rep honours gives him the utility spot. Petero with his 33 Queensland and 45 Australian caps make him an incredible option off the bench.

The strengths of this squad are obvious. The forwards are simply incredible; the aggression of Tallis is matched by the silky skills of Parker and power of starting props of Lazarus and Webcke.

The energetic Alfie will form a deadly combination with Lockyer who be key in setting up tries for backs like powerhouse Sailor, prolific try-scorer in Renouf coupled with great right foot-step of Hodges which poses danger. The luxury of having a true game-changer like Gene Miles on the bench make this squad formidable. This team is really special as you can see of the quality players that have missed out. Do you like this team’s chances going up against other greatest all-time teams?