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Whose faces would be etched in stone on your NRL club’s Mt Rushmore?

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Roar Guru
1st January, 2024
1528 Reads

Fellow Roar correspondent Pickett recently advised that the Roosters Chookpen fan site voted to choose the four Roosters icons who would appear on the club’s very own Mt Rushmore, if it had one, and it’s the Roosters, so don’t rule it out.

Mt Rushmore is the US national memorial in South Dakota honouring iconic presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, featuring 18-metre carvings of their heads on the side of the mountain.

The Chookpen came up with Nick Politis, Dally Messenger, Arthur Beetson and Jack Gibson, and that’s quite a line-up, as each man selected has played a significant role in the club’s illustrious history.

Let’s take a closer look at their selections. Nick Politis, sombrero wearing financial Svengali; Dally Messenger, rugby league immortal and the game’s first super star; Arthur Beetson, another rugby league immortal, former coach, and the captain of their 1974 and 1975 premiership-winning sides; and Jack Gibson, premiership-winning coach in both 1974 and 1975.

No doubt all deserving choices, and all have now gone to God except for octogenarian Politis, but did they get it right?

What about three-time premiership winning coach Trent Robinson, or Dave Brown, the rugby league immortal and point-scoring machine, who both captained and coached the Roosters to premiership victories?

QUEANBEYAN, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Trent Robinson looks on during the NSW Cup Trial Match between the North Sydney Bears and the Canberra Raiders at Seiffert Oval on February 27, 2021 in Queanbeyan, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Trent Robinson. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Anyway, it made me wonder who would be selected for the Mt Rushmore treatment at the Dragons, and here I mean the pre-merger version of this once great club.


Surely former club secretary Frank Facer would be up there for his work in assembling a production line of talent that enabled the Dragons to win 11 premierships in a row, and while on that happy subject, rugby league Immortal Norm Provan who featured in 10 winning premierships in a row wouldn’t be out of place.

The Dragons’ other three rugby league Immortals in Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands and Johnny Raper would no doubt fight out the other two positions, but what about the great Harry Bath, who won three premierships as a player in the late 1950s and then coached the Dragons to premierships in both 1977 and 1979?

Who would be selected at the other clubs?

South Sydney

Surely rugby league Immortal Clive Churchill is a certainty, and there’s plenty of other iconic players like John Sattler, Bob McCarthy, Eric Simms and Ron Coote who could also join him. Perhaps 336-gamer John Sutton or try-scoring maestro Alex Johnston would come under consideration, and would the club even exist today without both George Piggins and Russell Crowe?



Rugby league Immortal and multi premiership-winner as both a player and a coach Bob Fulton would be first picked, followed by former player, coach, club and ARL supremo Ken Arthurson. So, who should join them? Cliff Lyons and Beaver Menzies, perhaps, or someone with a face to frighten the kiddies like either Terry Randall or Fred Jones?


The Panthers would be the only club to have a father and son duo carved in stone, and they’d likely sit alongside the likes of club champions like Greg Alexander and Royce Simmons, or perhaps club founder Merv Cartwright deserves the honour?

No point including any other current players as they could be wearing Canterbury jerseys before the statue is finished.


Paul Gallen must be there, as his head already looks like it’s been chiseled out of stone, and his weather-beaten melon could by nicely balanced by the far more photogenic Andrew Ettingshausen. What about Shane Flanagan? He is their only premiership winning coach, after all.



Steve Mortimer and Peter “Bullfrog” Moore would surely be first cabs off the rank at Canterbury, and anyone named Hughes could also get a go, but I’m tipping current club supremo, five-year planner, former player and premiership-winning coach Phil Gould will ensure that his craggy features are taking pride of place.


Rugby league Immortal, former coach and three-time premiership winner Mal Meninga would be a certainty in the nation’s capital, and there’s a host of former stars to choose from to join him, including Laurie Daley, Bradley Clyde and Ricky Stuart, but if we’re talking about a rock carving, you can’t go past the “Brick with Eyes” in Glenn Lazarus, although both Brisbane and Melbourne might also want to claim him.


Peter Sterling obviously must feature here, preferably with the long flowing locks, and you can add anyone else you can remember from their last premiership win back in the 1980s.

Peter Sterling

Legendary Eel Peter Sterling, sans locks (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Jack Gibson coached Parramatta to their three solitary premierships so the Eels and the Roosters will both be claiming ownership of his carving.



Six-time premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett will look great in stone, just so long as he remembers to smile for the sculptor, but who will join him?

Darren Lockyer has played the most games for the club, Steve Renouf has scored the most tries and Corey Parker has amassed the most points, but there’s no player that says “Broncos icon” more than little Allan Langer, who was halfback in the club’s very first game way back in 1988 and is still there to this day, and he picked up four premierships along the way.


The first person to spring to mind here is Matthew Johns in his Reg Reagan disguise, as he’s probably done more to raise the club’s profile than even his Immortal brother Andrew, and Reg typifies the way they play footy in the coalfields. Does Nathan Tinkler deserve to join him, or would the likes of Paul Harragon, Danny Buderus or Matt Gidley be better choices?

Wests Tigers

No one has done more to shape the Tigers we see today than Justin Pascoe and Lee Hagipantelis, but don’t expect them to appear anywhere on the side of a mountain at Leichhardt. Safer to go with some icons from the pre-merger days, like Tommy Raudonikis, Noel Kelly, Keith Barnes or Steve Roach, but perhaps Benji Marshall makes the cut for both his 2005 Grand Final performance and bravery in coaching the club.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Assistant Coach Benji Marshall of the Tigers watches on during the warm up before the round five NRL match between Brisbane Broncos and Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on April 01, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Benji Marshall. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Gold Coast

Just to clarify, we’re talking about the Gold Coast Titans here and not any of their predecessors in the Giants, Seagulls, Chargers or Gladiators.

Perhaps Anthony Don, the club’s highest-ever try-scorer deserves recognition, or the mercurial Scott Prince, who was captain in the club’s inaugural game and still holds the club point-scoring record.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has carried the Titans’ pack for years, so should be considered, or maybe their inaugural coach John Cartwright, who somehow stuck it out for seven and a half years, surely a coaching record on the Gold Coast that will never be beaten?


No real surprise nominees here, with long-serving coach Craig Bellamy and GOAT Cameron Smith certain starters, and let’s hope the sculptor can capture Bellamy mid-expletive. Club favourite and try-scoring record holder Billy slater will no doubt join them, while champion halfback Cooper Cronk’s name has now no doubt been struck from the short-list following his defection to the Roosters in 2018.


I’d actually like to see former CEO Brian Waldron, the architect of their infamous salary cap rort, up there as well just to remind the Storm faithful why there’s some missing silverware in the trophy cabinet.

North Queensland

Let’s start with anyone with the initials JT. Johnathan Thurston is the club’s greatest-ever player, record point-scorer, has played the most games for the club and kicked them to premiership glory in 2015, and his laughing dial will be there, while Jason Taumalolo has been the rock on which the club has been built since 2011, and is also the wealthiest sportsman north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and will join him.

New Zealand

Although the Warriors haven’t won a premiership since their inception nearly 30 years ago, they have more than their fair share of icons.

New coach Andrew Webster would have been a shoo-in before the Warriors dropped out of the finals last year, and record point-scorer Shaun Johnson has recaptured his best form. The club’s top try-scorer Manu Vatuvai may also be a contender now that he’s out of prison, and perhaps entitled Warriors sponsor Jason Paris will feel entitled to some recognition as well.



Obviously it’s way too soon for this type of monument at Redcliffe, but if not, Wayne Bennett will be the first face carved, and maybe they can dig a bit deeper into their long pre-NRL history and come up with the likes of Arthur Beetson, Petero Civoniceva and Brent Tate?

Who would you vote for?

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