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Opinion

The Sydney Roosters' greatest NRL team

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Roar Guru
15th November, 2020
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The Sydney Roosters were founded in 1908. They are a foundation club.

They are winners of 15 premierships and have the unique distinction of being the only club to participate in every single season, so it’s fair to guess how there are myriad of players to choose from 112 years.

1. Anthony Minichello- 18 caps for Australia, 3 for Italy, 11 for NSW, Golden Boot Winner, fullback of the year, Wally Lewis medal winner, RLIF Back of the year
‘Mini’ established himself as one of the most dangerous attacking players in the game. In the early 2000s he was in his element in broken field and from kick returns. Many forget before he had his back issues he was the best fullback in the world.

2. Kerry Boustead- 25 caps Australia, 6 for Queensland, winger of the year
Boustead dominated from a young age. His pace and agility along with strong defence made him one of the finest wingers in his time. He was picked to play for Australia at 18 years old.

3. Herbert “Dally” Messenger- 7 caps for Australia, 2 for NZ, 25 for NSW
An argument can be made that he is the reason why rugby league in Australia is how it is today. Messenger’s defection from union to league drew in crowds and sparked interest in rugby league.

Only standing at 172cmm his stocky build, amazing coordination and skill made him one of the best players ever.

He was known to kick goals from 75 yards (68m). The NRL’s best and fairest is named after him, which is a testament a champion of the game.

4. Dave Brown- 9 caps for Australia, 19 for NSW
When you are known as ‘The Bradman of League’ you know you’re getting a spot on this team, Brown was great talent.

Captained NSW and the Roosters at the age 19He claimed a number of records, including 38 tries in one year and 45 points in one match it will be 50 in today’s game . He played for NSW and also captained them at just 19 years old.

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5. Daniel Tupou-12 caps Tonga, 7 NSW, 1 for Australia.
Standing at 196cm, he was initially just a great aerial threat but over the years he has became a complete winger, finisher , very good metre eater and very composed in defence rarely makes the wrong call.

He has won three premierships with Roosters. His allegiance to Tonga has stopped him from making more caps for NSW and Australia.

Daniel Tupou

Daniel Tupou of the Roosters scores a try during the 2018 NRL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

6. Brad Fittler- 38 caps for Australia, 31 for NSW, 2x centre of the year, lock of the year, 3x five-eighth of the year
Fittler was one of the most skilled players in rugby league. He won three different positional awards showing his great versatility.

Fittler’s famous right foot step coupled with his 100kg frame led to countless line breaks and his composure and calmness in big moments made him one of the best players in his generation. Played for Australia, NSW (youngest Origin player to debut at the time) and won a grand final all before he was 19.

A modern day great.

7. Kevin Hastings- 1 cap for NSW, 3 x halfback of the year, 3 x RLW Player of the year
It is a crime that Hastings never played for Australia. He had everything you wanted in halfback and was a standout for the Roosters for many years.

He is unlucky that his era included some great halfbacks as a Test jersey was the big void in his career. First Roosters player to reach 200 games.

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8. Arthur Beetson- 28 caps for Australia, 17 caps NSW, 1 for Queensland, RLW Player of Year
The best attacking prop the game has ever seen, ‘Artie’ was just too good. His bulky frame and ability to offload in seemingly impossible positions which made him an Immortal. His performance in England had the home fans standing in awe.

He also unbelievably skilled. Legend has it he played a close match of tennis against 11 time grand slam champion Rod Laver.

9. Sandy Pearce -14 caps Australia ,32 NSW
Played in the Roosters first ever game, Pearce was a very strong hooker who was able to keep his same level his same level of excellence as he played for Australia at the age of 38.

10. Adrian Morley- 30 caps for Great Britain, 17 for England, RLIF Prop of the year
One of the most aggressive players in the game’s history, Morley just used his rage and power to make him one of the most feared props in the game. He sometimes let his aggression get the better of him but there was no doubting his place among the finest English players

11. Boyd Cordner- 20 caps Australia, 16 for NSW, second rower of the year
Courageous warrior who constantly pushes the physical limits puts his body and wellbeing secondary to the success of the team. Incredible leader who captain’s club, NSW and Australia . He most famous for his precise and direct lines are so hard to read and defend.

He was the captain to the Roosters back to back premiership wins and Blues back to back series wins.

Boyd Cordner

Boyd Cordner of the Roosters celebrates winning the 2018 NRL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

12. Craig Fitzgibbon- 18 caps for Australia, 11 for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal Winner, and Wally Lewis Medal Winner
The 80-minute workhorse who always made the most tackles and hit ups, Fitzgibbon played the game as if his life depended on it.

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He was such an asset to have as you can get a reliable 80-minute performance and also have a player that is really good at goal kicking for a second rower that is quite rare. His efforts in the 2002 grand final won him the Clive Churchill.

13. Hugh McGhan – 32 caps for New Zealand, Golden Boot Winner, Second Row of the year
This Kiwi product is the best import to play for the Roosters. His attacking flair and skill made him New Zealand’s all-time leading try scorer.

Bench: Craig Wing , Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Ray Stehr and Bryan Fletcher
Coach: Trent Robinson

The Tricolours in 112 years of competition have assembled a team of champions. The immediate standout are the centres.

It is an Immortal centre pairing with Dally Messenger and Dave Brown provide an attacking force no one will have answers for.

The prop pairing of Morley and Beetson complement each other nicely Morley aggression and enforcer with Beetson’s ball-playing skills.

A prime Minichello is a constant threat up the middle especially with the two props mentioned laying a platform.

Fittler will be champing at the bit as he will have great teammates taking away the attention from him he normally has and can use his frame to cause havoc and will have two amazing finishers in Tupou and Boustead to cap off attacking raids.

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It’s very easy to imagine Hastings forming a great combination with Cordner’s great line running.

These Chooks will give opponents scared looks, as it will leave teams shook and they may even start to sook.