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Opinion

St George Dragons greatest ever team

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Roar Guru
19th October, 2021
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The St George Dragons were founded in 1920 and ceased to exist in 1998, when they merged with the Illawarra Steelers to form the team we know as the St George Illawarra Dragons.

They have had a bevy of champion players and are best known for winning 11 consecutive premierships from 1956-66, a record unmatched in world sport.

1. Graeme Langlands: 45 Tests for Australia, 35 games for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal
‘Changa’ was the Dragons’ greatest point scorer and a marvel of an attacking. He had long strides, and he moved so gracefully he could move left or right then suddenly explode diagonally in the opposite direction, making defences look paper-thin. Plus his telepathic connection with Billy Smith made him the finest attacking fullback from his time. He was known for his famous white boots and scoring the best no try ever against England.

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2. Johnny King: 15 Tests for Australia, ten games for NSW
He formed a great partnership with Reg Gasnier. He was an intelligent winger who was rarely out of position. His speed and aforementioned footy smarts helped him become the Dragons’ leading try scorer of all time. He overcame a partially severed foot from a lawnmower incident and still played on for many years after that.

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3. Reg Gasnier: 40 Tests for Australia, 17 games for NSW
The greatest centre to ever play and an Immortal, Gasnier was simply a once in a lifetime sort of player. He was the sort of player that scored 127 tries in 125 games yet he was known as an unselfish player. His swerve, acceleration and strength were all combined together to produce a player who could beat you in a multitude of ways. He was commonly referred to as the ‘Prince of Centres’. He became Australia’s youngest ever captain at age 22. His career was cut short at 28 but his legacy lives on.

4. Mark Coyne: nine Tests for Australia, 19 games for Queensland
He was key to the Dragons of the ’90s. He famously rallied support for the Dragons stopping a merger with the Roosters. He was an all-round player who should have played more Tests. He is most famous for scoring the “it’s not a try, it’s a miracle” try for Queensland.

Mark Coyne speaks to the media

Mark Coyne. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

5. Eddie Lumsden: 17 Tests for Australia, 17 games for NSW
He was a powerhouse of a winger who used his brute strength to bulldoze his way to an impressive 136 tries from 256 games. His teammates often stated once he had the ball close to the line, they started walking back for the kick-off as they knew he would score.

6. Brian Clay: nine Tests for Australia, eight games for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal
Known as ‘Poppa’ for being bald, Clay was more of running player who ran like an extra forward, which helped his backs of Gasnier and King to find space to score out wide, while in defence he was not afraid of tackling players in half. He retired with helping the Dragons win their 11th straight premiership.

7. Billy Smith: 27 Tests for Australia, 17 games for NSW
He was a West Australia-born player who was a tenacious little player. He didn’t let his size deter him from being one of the better halves in the game. His pace and kicking game provided the Dragons another dimension in attack that made them close to unbeatable.

8. Norm Provan: 14 Tests for Australia, 19 games for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal
The late, great Immortal was an incredible leader and warrior who led the Dragons to ten straight grand final wins. He was a professional who was the soul behind the Dragons’ dynasty. His actions off the field and the way he conducted himself provided a guidance to his teammates on how a rugby league player should approach the game. Perhaps his photo with Arthur Summons, which is used for the NRL trophy, is the most iconic photo in Australian sports.

NRL Grand Final trophy generic

(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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9. Ken Kearney: 33 Tests for Australia, 17 games for NSW
‘Killa’, as he was known, played for the Wallabies and was captain of the Dragons for six straight grand final wins. His aggressive nature gave the Dragons’ defence a steel that helped pave their success. He was often referred to as the brains of the Dragons’ dynasty.

10. Craig Young: 21 Tests for Australia, five games for NSW, two-time prop of the year, Clive Churchill Medal
He was a large prop who was known as ‘Fat Albert’, who used his size to bully his opponents. Young was a highly sought-after junior prospect who also excelled at football. He was vital in their final grand final win in 1979. Young was captain at age 22 and led the Dragons admirably.

11. Brad Mackay: 12 Tests for Australia, 17 games for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal
He could play many positions. Mackay was important in the Dragons’ teams in the ’90s making grand finals. He in one of only four players to win a Clive Churchill Medal in a losing side. He was always in Bradley Clyde’s shadow but was a great player himself.

12. Rod Reddy: 19 Tests for Australia, one game for Queensland
‘Rocket Reddy’ was a bruising player whether it was in attack or defence. He would dish out punishment and be the team’s enforcer. A perfect example was when he belted Parramatta in the 1977 grand final replay.

13. John Raper: 39 Tests for Australia, 24 games for NSW, Clive Churchill Medal
One of the finest locks and an Immortal, Raper had rare instinct and endurance uncommon for a lock. He could cover at five-eighth and was a good defender with his famous cover tackle. His performance for Australia in the ‘Swinton Massacre’ has been rated by some as the best individual performance ever.

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Bench
Ted Goodwin, Billy Wilson, Harry Bath and Kevin Ryan.

What a collection of talent. The back row of Raper, Mackay and Reddy have a mix of skill, aggression, and bone-crushing defence.

Billy Smith will have many backs to choose from. Langlands and Gasnier are two of the best players ever and those two combined is almost unfair.

And on top of that, you have two great wingers, who will finish any opportunity handed to them.

To cap it off you have Norm Provan leading this team, making them extremely difficult to beat.

They for sure will be a force in best team ever tournament as they have four Immortals.

Who will stop these Dragons from marching?

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