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Opinion

Who is the ultimate playmaker in NRL history?

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Roar Guru
16th February, 2021
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I want to somehow discover who the greatest playmaker in both codes are and today’s flavour is the NRL.

A playmaker for this article’s purpose is anyone who wore the 6 or 7 jerseys (although some could argue there is a skinny accountant-looking bloke who wears 9 in Melbourne that could enter this discussion).

I will present six names and let the comments decide who is the ultimate playmaker in the history of the NRL.

In no particular order, the nominees are:

Allan Langer
Alfie has a strong case for being the best player in the entire decade of the 1990s.

Impossible to contain, Langer’s tricky footwork, strong kicking game and his knack for reading the game put him ahead of many of his competitors.

A multiple premiership-winner, Clive Churchill medal winner, Dally M Medal winner, and an all-round legend, Alfie’s reputation speaks for itself.

Andrew Johns
The 8th immortal is arguably the best halfback to ever play, doing things others could only dream of.

As outrageously skilled as he was with his kicking, passing, vision, and attacking prowess, his strength was definitely his defence. One of the best defensive 7s ever, Joey pushed his way to many honours, such as three Dally M Medals, multiple premierships, a Clive Churchill Medal, and a brace of Golden Boot awards.

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Known for his antics off the field as well, when it was time to turn it on, Joey was always ready to win!

Andrew Johns smiles as he's presented to Newcastle fans in 2017

Andrew Johns (Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Darren Lockyer
Starting his career at fullback, then making the transition to five-eighth in 2004, Lockyer possessed one of the greatest skillsets in NRL history.

He amassed a huge 355 first grade games, 36 Origins, and a whopping 59 Test matches.

Lockyer’s calm nature oozed class into whichever side he played in, and he commanded respect and led from the front. The ultimate match winner!

Johnathan Thurston
The scrawny kid from Sunnybank in Queensland left the Bulldogs to pursue an opportunity in North Queensland and never looked back.

He had supreme vision, loved his signature show and go, was a great attacking kicker, and just an all around competitor.

JT’s highlight will forever be winning the 2015 grand final – the Cowboys’ maiden premiership. He has done it all, multiple premierships, a record four Dally M medals, multiple Golden Boot Awards, and a Clivey to go with it.

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Will be a future Immortal, no doubt.

Peter Sterling
One of the best minds when it comes to rugby league, Sterlo was a whiz in the blue and gold.

An outstanding organiser and a sharp playmaker, Sterlo blossomed under Jack Gibson when he arrived at Parramatta. Hampered by injury, Sterlo still managed two premierships, two Dally M Medals, and is the inaugural Clive Churchill medal winner.

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Wally Lewis
It is pretty hard to discount a bloke they call ‘The King’.

Tough, robust, competitive and a visionary of the game, Lewis could do it all. He has already been named by many as the greatest to ever play.

Arguably the greatest Origin player of all time, the King was absolutely fearless, and his attacking prowess would win games on the regular for whomever he was playing.

My honourable mentions are Cooper Cronk, Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Brad Fittler, Brett Kenny and Terry Lamb.

But as for the six in the conversation, who is the greatest of all?

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