The Roar
The Roar


The NRL's 300-game club is hard to get into, but those who have made it definitely deserve the accolades

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Roar Guru
25th March, 2024

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves – who of course is everybody’s second favourite player – has just become the latest to reach the 300-game milestone in rugby league in Australia.

That’s no mean feat considering his judiciary history.

Playing even just one NRL game is an achievement most can only dream about, but having the skill, determination, fitness, luck and endurance to stay at the top year after year and go on to play 300 games is truly outstanding.

In the history of the game in Australia, only 50 players have played 300 games or more in the competitions run by the NSWRL/ARL/NRL, and the list makes for some interesting reading, and below are some fun facts.

It’s no surprise that Cameron Smith heads the list with an incredible 430 games, with fellow Queensland legends Cooper Cronk and Darren Locker in second and third place on 372 games and 355 games respectively.

It’s inconceivable that anyone will ever go past Cameron Smith’s record.

The first player to pass 300 games was Geoff Gerard way back in 1989. Gerard was some player, having represented Parramatta, Manly and Penrith across 16 seasons as well as both NSW and Australia.


Of the 50 players to do so, only five: Geoff Gerard, Cliff Lyons, Andrew Ettingshausen, Paul Langmack and Terry Lamb passed the 300-game mark prior to 2000. This suggests that the lure of the significant financial rewards available in the NRL era, together with the rapid improvements in sports medicine and injury management, both encouraged and enabled players to extend their careers.

Only 42 of the 300-plus game club played Test football, with the exceptions being Paul Langmack, John Morris, John Sutton, Mitch Aubusson, Aiden Tolman, Andrew McCullough, Jarrod Croker and Gavin Cooper.

While 39 of the 50 players on the list have won at least one premiership, with the exceptions being Adam Blair, Nathan Hindmarsh, Andrew Ettingshausen, Geoff Gerard, Josh Morris, Aiden Tolman, Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough, Jarrod Croker, Simon Mannering and Josh Morris.

• There are 17 players on the list who remarkably played all of their games for just one club: Cameron Smith (Melbourne), Darren Lockyer (Brisbane), Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Corey Parker (Brisbane), John Sutton (South Sydney), Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Andrew Ettingshausen (Cronulla), Billy Slater (Melbourne), Jason Croker (Canberra), Hazem El-Masri (Canterbury), Jarrod Croker (Canberra), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Mitch Aubusson (Eastern Suburbs), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Anthony Minichiello (Eastern Suburbs), Luke Ricketson (Eastern Suburbs), and Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors).

Brett Kimmorley is the 300-plus gamer who turned out for the most clubs, with stints at Newcastle, Hunter Mariners, Melbourne, Northern Eagles, Cronulla and Canterbury.


The list includes 23 NSW origin reps, 15 from Queensland, six Kiwis, one “Englishman” in Chris Heighington, while John Sutton, John Morris, Aidan Tolman, Jarrod Croker and Mitch Aubusson are the only players to play neither Origin nor Test football.

There are 26 forwards on the list and 19 backs, while Brad Fittler, Jason Croker, Ruben Wiki, Luke Lewis and Mitch Aubusson were equally effective as either a back or a forward.

Besides Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, the only other current NRL players to pass the 300-game mark are Jesse Bromwich (319 games), Ben Hunt (315 games) and Daly Cherry-Evans (308 games).

Current players who could bring up the 300-game milestone in the near future include Michael Jennings (Roosters, 298 games), Kieran Foran (Titans, 284 games) and Dane Gagai (Knights, 271 games).

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My greatest team of 300-plus gamers

1. Billy Slater (319) – who else? The best fullback of the NRL era.
2. Andrew Ettingshausen (328) – A sensational anywhere in the outside backs and had speed to burn.
3. Brad Fittler (336) – Could tear any defence apart with his footwork and strength.
4. Josh Morris (325) – An exceptional player in both attack and defence who seemingly never had a bad game.
5. Hazem El Masri (317) – Rarely made a mistake and was one of the best goal-kickers of all time.
6. Darren Lockyer (355) – Arguably the best 5/8 of the NRL era and a player who controlled the game to perfection.
7. Johnathan Thurston (323) – An attacking maestro who was always two steps ahead of the opposition.
8. Petero Civoniceva (309) – A tough and relentless player who just kept on churning out the yards and making the tackles.
9. Cameron Smith (430) – The GOAT, enough said.
10. Adam Blair (331) – A mean hombre who, on his day, could cause havoc with the opposition.
11. Ruben Wiki (311) – An absolute weapon who was deservedly feared by the opposition.
12. Steve Menzies (349) – A back-row attacking option without peer who just kept scoring tries.
13. Luke Lewis (324) – A tough and tireless customer with all the skills.
14. Cooper Cronk (372) – A superb reader of the game who could create an opportunity out of nothing and was as tough as they come.
15. Nathan Hindmarsh (330) – A workhorse extraordinaire who just never stopped in either attack or defence.
16. Steve Price (313) – A superb front-rower who ate up the hard yards with the ball and owned the middle of the ruck.
17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (300) – Perhaps the last of the game’s Neolithic stand over men?