Top 10 Rugby League Players of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Andrew Johns Andrew Gary "Joey" Johns is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time.

Legend in every category. His passing game was sublime, his kicking game was inch-perfect, and his overall toughness was impeccable. Andrew Johns is, no doubt, the greatest rugby league player of all time. His off-field dramas were a bit of a problem, but when he set foot on the field, he would just continue to play to his best ability.

Joey Johns worked tirelessly on his kicking, passing, and goal-kicking game, which paid off as he became the most influential player to ever put a boot on.

The best there is and ever will be. He changed the game. Everyone can remember a moment of Joey, like in 1997 with a punctured lung, 2001 beating the best attacking side of all time, and the 2005 State of Origin.

He played only 249 games and has the best points per game ratio. Best defensive half - something Thurston struggled with. Thurston also had the benefit of playing next to Lockyer, Smith, Cronk, Slater, Inglis, Matt Scott, and co., whereas Joey had to babysit Trent Barrett, Shaun Timmins, and God knows who else.

2 Darren Lockyer

Being a great role model and ambassador of the game is integral to being considered for this list. Darren Lockyer was my number one, top of the game, on and off the field, just like Wally Lewis and other former greats. Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston are the best of the current crop.

As for Johns, how can the user of hardcore drugs during his entire playing career ever be considered? He's a shocking role model, and this heinous side of him negates his playing ability. Strike him off.

Not once can you think of a time when Lockyer made a mistake or cost his team a match. A true competitor, he never had an off day.

He's currently in the top three, sandwiched by Johns and the King, but I would choose Lockyer as the best, purely because he was a true professional. Wally Lewis did nothing at the club level and stood tall at the rep level. Andrew Johns was a pill-popping party boy, which is fine, but at the end of the day, no one took their game more seriously than Lockyer.

3 Wally Lewis

If you were to ask the other players on this list their opinion, I have no doubt they would say that Wally should be number one. I have never seen any other player read a game like a chess game like him.

I watched him at an Origin game at Lang Park, and he orchestrated defense and tries, injecting himself as required. But, almost like Lego, he crafted what he wanted and saw the game three or four moves ahead. All hail the King!

He has all the skills. He's a great tactician, a director of play, and had a great kicking game, both short and long. His passing was immaculate. He had enormous speed for a player his size and could defend like a front row forward.

He was an inspiring player and a great leader. When he talked on the field, players listened. While his goal kicking wasn't like Johns', he could still kick a goal well enough.

People need to go back to the early to late 80s to fully appreciate his abilities. Not only that, he was doing all this while dealing with epilepsy, a medical condition no one should play rugby league with. Locky, JT, Johns, Langer, and other great players learned from Lewis. The King was doing in the 80s all the things that you see done today.

4 Jonathan Thurston

This man should be number one. He came from nothing and became much more. The game of rugby league was once nothing and became much more.

No one wanted J.T. He offered clubs his services for free, and still, no one wanted him. He went to the Bulldogs and won a premiership. He went to the Cowboys, and there came a finals appearance. There, he stood in a maroon jersey next to Darren Lockyer on his debut year for the Maroons. A streak started - the greatest streak Origin has ever had.

He was the only player in those six years of the streak to play every game. He came from nothing and became much more.

5 Clive Churchill

He kept playing with a broken arm. No one who plays today would do that.

Truly great, and for his size, what a player.

6 Brad Fittler

Brad Freddy Fittler is, without a doubt, the Greatest Player of All Time, but unfortunately, he didn't receive the credit he deserved, unlike Andrew Johns. Fittler was easily the better player of the two, and their head-to-head record speaks for itself. Both were great players, but Fittler could play in various positions, from the halves, lock, center, and he had great strength. On the other hand, Johns only played halfback, although in Origin, he came off the bench as a hooker at one point. Allan Langer was even probably a better halfback than Johns.

To conclude, Brad Fittler was the youngest representative player for NSW and Australia and our youngest captain to lead our country. He is definitely the greatest player of all time. It's a shame Andrew Johns was made an Immortal before Freddy.

Top 5 of all time: 1. BRAD FITTLER, 2. Darren Lockyer, 3 and 4. Allan Langer and Andrew Johns, 5. Johnathan Thurston

7 Ellery Hanley

The legend of rugby league, Golden Boot winner. Speed, power, and balance. A try-scoring machine for every team he played for.

The Black Pearl! By far the most balanced player to play the game. The Pele of rugby league, better than Johns.

A great list of top players, but no question Hanley was the most naturally talented of all time.

8 Greg Inglis

The best runner of the ball in the history of the sport, he has won pretty much every medal and trophy there is and is now staring down immortal status. This guy is a beast. Melbourne Storm was where he played his best rugby, but he also is a gun for South Sydney, Queensland, and Australia. Arguably the greatest player ever, and the greatest indigenous player ahead of Johnathan Thurston.

Greg Inglis is almost certainly the best player ever. He makes runs and breaks tackles like which have never been seen. Some of the things this man has done on the field are nothing short of miraculous.

As a Queenslander, I love Locky. Don't get me wrong, the number of times he has won a game at the death is astounding. But I'm pretty sure if you asked him to name a team for anything, Greg Inglis would be number one on the list.

9 Mal Meninga

Great size with speed and balance made him indestructible, but vision made him the best. Add in the ability to kick goals as good as any, and he was worth more points than any man.

Simply brilliant. Size, pace, hands, and that player who always came up with the goods when needed. Old Trafford v Great Britain, typical of the man.

Skill, power, and speed, with great charisma. He is the best Rugby League player ever.

10 Billy Slater

Billy Slater is an amazing fullback. He is always getting himself into plays that they need him in. He is also someone who is just considerate as well during his games.

The best thing I love about watching Billy play is the plays that he gets into, the full length of the field tries. Now they are amazing. I am absolutely a Billy Slater and Melbourne Storm fan.

Billy Slater was an unbelievable fullback. I would have put him as Queensland captain back in those days. He definitely was Australasia's best fullback.

The Contenders
11 Peter Sterling
12 Steve Menzies

Steve Menzies was a strong defender and in 1995 scored 22 tries in 22 games. At one stage, he had 104 tries in 150 games. Probably the best backrower to ever play rugby league in Australia.

He's played in almost every position and has scored the most tries for a forward, for which he played the majority of his career.

Mr. 110% or maybe 115% - what an amazing record. I have watched his whole career with joy. His work in the community and the recognition he got.

13 Arthur Beetson

No one could smash like Beetson. No one could feign then attack like Beetson. God help the guy who had to tackle him. Even Terry Randle would have had second thoughts. Three generations packed into one!

Every great side needs great forwards, and Artie was the greatest. Very tough, could throw a few punches, which you had to in that era. And unbelievable ball skills. Just an absolute all-time legend.

Come on, people. Artie could set up tries and get the ball away better than anyone.

14 Reg Gasnier

A classical centre, his main attribute was his acceleration, a quality that separates the very good from the champions. He could slide through a gap before the opposition realized he was gone.

A sheer genius, and I'm privileged to have seen him play during the 1959 Test series. As a kid at the time, he was my idol.

The greatest centre I have ever seen.

15 Dally Messenger

Dally Messenger essentially gave us rugby league in Australia. His freakish running ability, try-scoring ability, and the ability to kick goals from his own 25m line are unmatched. Nobody has ever done that since, not even the South African rugby players at high altitude. His dominance and moral character surpass Andrew Johns, hands down.

16 Allan Langer

People seem to forget that Johns played at hooker or on the bench because he couldn't move Langer.

The most tries scored by a full-time halfback in history and easily the deadliest player in history inside the opposing 20m. As for dominance, he went unopposed as Queensland halfback from '87-'98 and only wasn't selected between '99-'00 due to retirement before coming back in '01 and completely outplaying Johns in his last origin. He achieved 4 premierships and 3 minor premierships in 7 years leading Brisbane. He also earned 2 World Cup wins and participated in 2 Kangaroos tours. Add to that 3 rule changes specifically because of Langer. No other player has had such an impact on the rules of the game.

17 Cameron Smith

11 State of Origin wins, 4x Wally Lewis medalist, 5x Hooker of the Year, 3x Captain of the Year, Golden Boot, NRL games record, most points ever by a hooker, Premiership captain, captained Australia to World Cup win, should be a 3-time Premiership player but two were stripped, and 2-time Dally M Medal. Now, how could you possibly argue against him being the greatest rugby league player of all time after seeing that?

The greatest number 9 to ever play the game, with a remarkable kicking and passing game, and the vision to see what is happening and pick the right play. He knows how to control the ruck and just by being on the field, he makes everyone else feel calmer and as if they won't lose. He is truly the greatest player I have ever seen.

18 Garry Schofield

He played for Leeds Rhinos, Hull FC, Great Britain, and I think he played in Australia for a season. One of England's best ever players.

19 Stacey Jones

Johns was the best half-back for the Kiwis. He's a very talented kicker who paved the way for the Kiwis to be the title holder. Go Stacey!

Stacey Jones is a very awesome player. He is small but very strong and talented.

20 John Raper

Possibly the best all-around rugby league player I ever saw, and I've seen a few since the 1950s. His positional play was superb, and I don't recall him ever missing a tackle. And his tackles weren't the "second in" or "third in" efforts we see nowadays.

He went in first, usually went low, and had his opponent on the ground before he could even think about getting a pass away. In attack, he backed up everywhere, had enough pace to make it awkward for opposing teams (he played five-eighth for some time), and had great anticipation.

21 Brett Kenny

He is by far the greatest player I've ever seen. Naturally gifted, very instinctive, and could do anything on the field. He played in five grand finals in six years and won four, won the Challenge Cup with Wigan in 1985, and was head and shoulders the best player on the park. He was a huge part of the 1985 and 1986 Origin teams that beat Queensland and was a standout player for Australia from the time he made his debut. He won the Golden Boot in 1986, but in all fairness, he was the best player in the world from 1982 to 1986. He always delivered in the big matches. The players that played with him and against him have acknowledged his brilliance.

22 Shane Webcke
23 Graeme Langlands

Greatest fullback ever, great footwork, read the game brilliantly.

Graeme Langlands is the greatest player to pull on a boot. Today's players don't rate with him.

Are you joking, Langland's beetson &Fulton are the best of all time.

24 Bradley Clyde
25 Martin Offiah

Speed, speed, speed. No doubt that Offiah was lightning fast, but that was all there ever was to his game. The greatest British player? Not even close to Ellery Hanley.

The first time I saw Martin was when he ran the length of the pitch in the third test at Sydney over 30 years ago. He was one of the greats.

Fast, just lightning! Watched him from his first games at Widnes. Nothing ever as quick over more than a century.

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