This is the second instalment of the series where we run our eye over the nudie run, one of rugby league’s greatest traditions.
The nudie run is where players who have failed to score a try during the season are required to run a lap of the oval in the nude, to the encouragement of some fairly inebriated onlookers.
Let’s take a look at your club’s top nudies for 2021, and also recognise those players who are deserving of recognition for services to the run over a number of years. Today, we run our eye over the teams in the bottom eight.
The Sharks didn’t score too many tries in 2021 but it seems that nearly everyone grabbed at least one. Even Josh Dugan and Aaron Woods scored three each.
So it looks like the only legitimate contenders that they can muster for this year’s run are captain Wade Graham and halfback Chad Townsend, who each started in 11 games without scoring a try between them. Good to see Graham leading from the front.
The Sharks have been around since 1967 and surprisingly only have 14 players who have played 20 games or more for the club without scoring a try.
The two highest are Gary McDougall (32 games), a lock forward who joined the Sharks from Dapto in 1967, and Gary Stewart (31 games), a forward who played for Cronulla in the early ’70s. A couple of Cronulla legends right there.
We all know that the Raiders had a season that Ricky Stuart would like to forget, but would you believe that they had only one player who really qualified for the nudie run?
The honour goes to Dunamis Lui, who failed to cross the line in his 11 games, including one off the bench.
From a historical perspective things are far more interesting. Kiwi prop Brent Todd was a fan favourite during his five years at Canberra but clearly not for his try-scoring ability.
Although he picked up two premierships with the Raiders, he didn’t score a single try in his 90 games at the club. Epic effort, Brent.
Those nudie runs around Seiffert Oval in the middle of winter would have been challenging to say the least. Todd wasn’t alone though, as representative prop Brett White also went try-less in his 69 games across four years.
St George Illawarra
I really thought that the Dragons were going to be the first club to field a four-man relay team in the nudie run but it appears that the best they could come up with was a two-man tag team in Blake Lawrie and Andrew McCullough, who both played 21 games in 2021 without even going close to scoring a four-pointer.
Gee guys, even Corey Norman, Gerard Beale and Josh McGuire scored tries during the year.
Daniel Alvaro also impressed the judges by not scoring in his 19 games off the bench. Another solid effort.
I’m very pleased to announce that Blake Lawrie also holds the all-time record for the club and has now played 79 games for the Dragons since 2017 without scoring a single try.
That’s some effort, and as he’ll only be 25 when the next season starts, you wonder just how far he can take it. Perhaps Blake is just using the extra runs at season’s end to improve his fitness?
The rugby league historians among you will be aware that St George Illawarra is a merger of the now defunct St George Dragons and the Illawarra Steelers, so we should recognise the leading nudie runners for these two famous clubs.
For the Dragons, two players are tied on 34 try-less games, and they are back-rower Brad Buchanan and five eighth Peter Coyne.
For the Steelers, that great back-rower Chris Walsh leads the way with an impressive 79 games without scoring a try in his six-year stint with the club. I bet he dreaded that stiff sea breeze blowing across WIN Stadium.
I have to say that I’m disappointed to report that the Warriors’ only contender for this year’s naked extravaganza is big bopper Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who went try-less in his 13 games for the club as well as his two games on loan to the Dragons.
Their history is far more interesting though, and it’s front-rower Brady Malam from the mid to late ’90s that leads the way with 55 games without a try, followed by English international Andy Platt with 35 games.
Good to see a Pommy taking an Australian tradition so seriously.
Alex Twal is one of Wests’ better players but not when it comes to scoring points.
He played 23 games in 2021, including a couple off the bench, and never looked like crossing the opponents’ line with ball in hand.
Running naked around the oval won’t be a new experience for him though, as Twal has now played 89 games in five seasons without getting his name on the scoresheet. That really takes some doing.
There’s no prize for guessing who holds the all-time record at Wests Tigers? That’s right, Alex Twal with his 89 games, with Thomas Mikaele on 60 try-less games in a strong second place.
The Wests Tigers are a merger of the Wests Magpies and the Balmain Tigers, and their nudie run champions are worth a look.
For Wests, Bill Medcalf leads the list on 49 games without scoring. Medcalf was a fullback who played in the early years of rugby league in Australia, and while he never scored a try he did kick the occasional goal.
For Balmain, the nudie run king was Herb Gilbert Jr, a hooker who played for the Tigers following World War Two, who played 45 games without registering a three-pointer.
The Broncos are another club that disappointed last season when it comes to the greatest run of all.
With just 77 tries scored by the 36 players used during the year, only two players in Jake Turpin, try-less in 22 games, and Matt Lodge, try-less in 12 games, make the cut.
Interestingly, Lodge didn’t have any better luck in the try-scoring department after making the move to the Warriors during the season.
Patrick Carrigan was unfortunately injured early last year and only added another eight try-less games to his growing tally, which now stands at 46, the all-time club record.
Well, I certainly didn’t see this coming. The Cowboys finished second last and the best they can do nudie run wise is Tom Gilbert with no tries from his 11 starts, including seven off the bench.
Not sure if that even makes the cut with that effort?
Despite their poor showing this year, the Cowboys do have a history of producing some quality nudie runners, with none better than big Ben Hannant, who played 52 games for the club without scoring. Josh McGuire sits in second place on the Cowboys’ list on 38 games.
The first surprise here is that Adam Elliott, known to love a nudie run, botched his qualification this year by stumbling in for two tries. Better luck with the Raiders next year, Adam.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Josh Jackson will once be again carrying the team on his broad shoulders in this year’s run after playing 17 games without scoring. A great captain’s knock.
From a historical point of view, who can forget Lin Johnson, a fullback who played 91 games for the Berries during the Second World War and never registered a three-pointer. You should have chimed into the back line occasionally, Lin.
In second place is Mark Brokenshire, who notched up 79 try-less games for the club in the early 1990s. Prior to joining the Dogs, Brokenshire failed to score in 25 games for Manly.
Well, that’s it for the nudie run this year. It’s quite a good field. How impressive are they? I’ll leave that for you to judge.