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Greatest halfbacks

Moondog

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Matt Logue, The Daily Telegraph
April 16,

Warning: this bloke reckons Kimmorley is number 8 and DCE "Is still in the infancy of his career" at number 18

1 Andrew Johns: The most complete halfback the game has ever seen. Two premierships, three Dally Ms, two Golden Boots, Immortal status and dominant records on the Origin and Test stages. Johns also had the sharpest footy mind — always thinking two plays ahead of everyone, and tackled like a backrower.

2 Johnathan Thurston: The busiest halfback in league history, “JT” finishes a close second behind Joey Johns because his defence wasn’t as strong. But you can’t deny Thurston’s champion status. Like Johns, he dominated with premierships, Dally M Medals and Golden Boots. His records for Queensland and Australia were also exemplary.

3 Allan Langer: “Alfie” was built like a trackwork jockey but had a heart the size of Phar Lap. Courageous, tough and as skilful as they come, he won four premierships with Brisbane and was named Broncos Player of the Year a record five times. He was also brilliant for Queensland and Australia.

4 Peter Sterling: “Sterlo” defined the 1980s with his dominant record at Parramatta. He formed one of the game’s greatest half combinations with Brett Kenny to help the Eels win four premierships. He was also outstanding in Origin for the Blues, winning four man-of-the-match awards in his 13 appearances.

5 Ricky Stuart: “Sticky” changed the game in the late 80s and early 90s with his long, spiralling passes to both sides of the field. He won three premierships with Canberra and was part of dominant Australian and NSW teams.

6 Cooper Cronk: After 15 stellar seasons, Cronk retired an NRL champion and one of the finest players the game has ever seen after steering the Sydney Roosters to back-to-back titles with victory over Canberra last year. He claimed four grand final wins, two Dally M Medals, seven Origin series wins and two World Cup triumphs. He is also the first player since halfback Johnny Mayes to win three straight premierships at two different clubs.

7 Steve Mortimer: One of Wagga’s finest athletes in any sport, Mortimer played a club record 272 games for Canterbury. He captained the Bulldogs to three premierships in the 1980s, while he will be forever remembered for skippering NSW to the state’s first Origin series victory in 1985.

8 Brett Kimmorley: This guy was so good that he often forced Andrew Johns to hooker in representative teams during the late 90s and early 2000s. “Noddy” Kimmorley was outstanding in Melbourne’s maiden premiership season in 1999 while he excelled for his state and country.

9 Stacey Jones: New Zealand’s Little Master. Jones didn’t win a premiership, losing the 2002 decider to the Roosters, but it doesn’t diminish his brilliance. He starred for the Kiwis on the Test stage, scoring 17 tries in 48 appearances.

10 Greg Alexander: “Brandy” had the versatility to play in several positions, but he was a top-class performer at halfback. Alexander’s finest moment was captaining Penrith to the club’s first premiership in 1991. He also stood out for NSW and Australia when called upon.

11 Kevin Hastings: This guy is Roosters royalty after a stellar career with the Bondi-based club. Hastings played 239 games for the Tricolours and dominated individual awards in the 1980s, taking home the Dally M halfback of the year three times and collecting a Rothmans Medal in 1981.

12 Geoff Toovey: One of the toughest footballers for his diminutive size to ever play the game. Toovey played a lot of his career at hooker, but he also starred at halfback. He captained the Sea Eagles to the 1996 premiership over St George wearing the No.7 jumper.

13 Craig Gower: This Penrith-born No.7 is a fan favourite at the foot of the mountains. Gower scored 55 tries in his 238 games for the Panthers, while he also captained the club to the 2003 premiership.

14 Tommy Raudonikis: Tommy would be higher but he played most of his career before 1980. That said, Raudonikis was still successful in the 80s with a grand final appearance in 1981 against eventual premiers Parramatta.

15 Matt Orford: The “Ox” wasn’t the biggest bloke but he always played above
his weight. Orford starred for the Melbourne Storm in the early stages of his career but he enjoyed his finest years with Manly. He was particularly outstanding in 2008 when he captained the Sea Eagles to the premiership, while he also won the Dally M medal.

16 Scott Prince: One of the game’s most underrated players, Prince possessed a brilliant football mind. His highlight came in 2005 when he captained the Wests Tigers to the joint-venture club’s maiden premiership while also collecting the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground.

17 Mitchell Pearce: Pearce has his critics, particularly on the Origin stage, but he has consistently performed at a high level in club football. He scored 62 tries during his 239-game career with the Sydney Roosters, and also won a premiership with them in 2013.

18 Daly Cherry-Evans: DCE is still in the infancy of his career but he has proved that he belongs among the finest No.7s. He won a premiership with Manly in 2011, while he has represented both Queensland and Australia.

19 Ben Hornby: Another underrated player, Hornby rarely produced a poor performance. He was rewarded for his toil in 2010 when he captained St George Illawarra to the joint-
venture club’s maiden premiership.

20 Brent Sherwin: “Shifty” Sherwin had one of rugby league’s best short kicking games. He didn’t play for NSW or Australia but his club career with Canterbury was hugely successful,
including winning a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004.

Honourable mentions: Adam Reynolds, Des Hasler, Gary Freeman, Michael Hagan, Jason Taylor, Craig Wing, Phil Blake, Noel Goldthorpe, Craig Polla-Mounter, Paul Green, Adrian Lam and Shaun Johnson.
 

The Who

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Raudonikis was not clever but was the meanest of the lot. Must be in the top 10, and probably the halfback you'd least like to play against.
Tooves was the toughest based on his size but this guy would start a fight with Snow White.
 

Shoe1

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Jul 14, 2010
Messages
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Ridiculous. The likes of Turvey, Ricky, Hastings, Gower aren't better than Des, Tooves or DCE.

People may recall I put Johnny Gibbs and Phil Blake in my best ever manly team, but that is based on them being my favourite players.

IN terms of best ever manly halfback I'd have to say DCE, followed by Tooves, Des, Ox, Gibbs, Blake, Stephens

Kimmorley and Pearce shouldn't even be mentioned.
 

The better Robbo

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Oct 5, 2017
Messages
1,359
Matt Logue, The Daily Telegraph
April 16,

Warning: this bloke reckons Kimmorley is number 8 and DCE "Is still in the infancy of his career" at number 18

1 Andrew Johns: The most complete halfback the game has ever seen. Two premierships, three Dally Ms, two Golden Boots, Immortal status and dominant records on the Origin and Test stages. Johns also had the sharpest footy mind — always thinking two plays ahead of everyone, and tackled like a backrower.

2 Johnathan Thurston: The busiest halfback in league history, “JT” finishes a close second behind Joey Johns because his defence wasn’t as strong. But you can’t deny Thurston’s champion status. Like Johns, he dominated with premierships, Dally M Medals and Golden Boots. His records for Queensland and Australia were also exemplary.

3 Allan Langer: “Alfie” was built like a trackwork jockey but had a heart the size of Phar Lap. Courageous, tough and as skilful as they come, he won four premierships with Brisbane and was named Broncos Player of the Year a record five times. He was also brilliant for Queensland and Australia.

4 Peter Sterling: “Sterlo” defined the 1980s with his dominant record at Parramatta. He formed one of the game’s greatest half combinations with Brett Kenny to help the Eels win four premierships. He was also outstanding in Origin for the Blues, winning four man-of-the-match awards in his 13 appearances.

5 Ricky Stuart: “Sticky” changed the game in the late 80s and early 90s with his long, spiralling passes to both sides of the field. He won three premierships with Canberra and was part of dominant Australian and NSW teams.

6 Cooper Cronk: After 15 stellar seasons, Cronk retired an NRL champion and one of the finest players the game has ever seen after steering the Sydney Roosters to back-to-back titles with victory over Canberra last year. He claimed four grand final wins, two Dally M Medals, seven Origin series wins and two World Cup triumphs. He is also the first player since halfback Johnny Mayes to win three straight premierships at two different clubs.

7 Steve Mortimer: One of Wagga’s finest athletes in any sport, Mortimer played a club record 272 games for Canterbury. He captained the Bulldogs to three premierships in the 1980s, while he will be forever remembered for skippering NSW to the state’s first Origin series victory in 1985.

8 Brett Kimmorley: This guy was so good that he often forced Andrew Johns to hooker in representative teams during the late 90s and early 2000s. “Noddy” Kimmorley was outstanding in Melbourne’s maiden premiership season in 1999 while he excelled for his state and country.

9 Stacey Jones: New Zealand’s Little Master. Jones didn’t win a premiership, losing the 2002 decider to the Roosters, but it doesn’t diminish his brilliance. He starred for the Kiwis on the Test stage, scoring 17 tries in 48 appearances.

10 Greg Alexander: “Brandy” had the versatility to play in several positions, but he was a top-class performer at halfback. Alexander’s finest moment was captaining Penrith to the club’s first premiership in 1991. He also stood out for NSW and Australia when called upon.

11 Kevin Hastings: This guy is Roosters royalty after a stellar career with the Bondi-based club. Hastings played 239 games for the Tricolours and dominated individual awards in the 1980s, taking home the Dally M halfback of the year three times and collecting a Rothmans Medal in 1981.

12 Geoff Toovey: One of the toughest footballers for his diminutive size to ever play the game. Toovey played a lot of his career at hooker, but he also starred at halfback. He captained the Sea Eagles to the 1996 premiership over St George wearing the No.7 jumper.

13 Craig Gower: This Penrith-born No.7 is a fan favourite at the foot of the mountains. Gower scored 55 tries in his 238 games for the Panthers, while he also captained the club to the 2003 premiership.

14 Tommy Raudonikis: Tommy would be higher but he played most of his career before 1980. That said, Raudonikis was still successful in the 80s with a grand final appearance in 1981 against eventual premiers Parramatta.

15 Matt Orford: The “Ox” wasn’t the biggest bloke but he always played above
his weight. Orford starred for the Melbourne Storm in the early stages of his career but he enjoyed his finest years with Manly. He was particularly outstanding in 2008 when he captained the Sea Eagles to the premiership, while he also won the Dally M medal.

16 Scott Prince: One of the game’s most underrated players, Prince possessed a brilliant football mind. His highlight came in 2005 when he captained the Wests Tigers to the joint-venture club’s maiden premiership while also collecting the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground.

17 Mitchell Pearce: Pearce has his critics, particularly on the Origin stage, but he has consistently performed at a high level in club football. He scored 62 tries during his 239-game career with the Sydney Roosters, and also won a premiership with them in 2013.

18 Daly Cherry-Evans: DCE is still in the infancy of his career but he has proved that he belongs among the finest No.7s. He won a premiership with Manly in 2011, while he has represented both Queensland and Australia.

19 Ben Hornby: Another underrated player, Hornby rarely produced a poor performance. He was rewarded for his toil in 2010 when he captained St George Illawarra to the joint-
venture club’s maiden premiership.

20 Brent Sherwin: “Shifty” Sherwin had one of rugby league’s best short kicking games. He didn’t play for NSW or Australia but his club career with Canterbury was hugely successful,
including winning a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004.

Honourable mentions: Adam Reynolds, Des Hasler, Gary Freeman, Michael Hagan, Jason Taylor, Craig Wing, Phil Blake, Noel Goldthorpe, Craig Polla-Mounter, Paul Green, Adrian Lam and Shaun Johnson.
If chez can deliver another premiership he'll move right up the list. Provide another 2 premierships he will be top 5
 

Terry Zarsoff

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Jun 19, 2013
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Who is Matt Logue and why hasn’t he heard of players like Joe ‘Chimpy’ Busch, Keith Holman or Billy Smith?
 

Shoe1

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Jul 14, 2010
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Perry Haddock is better than few of them mentioned.
 

StuBoot

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Jun 22, 2010
Messages
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This list is since 1980 ... but that doesn't change the fact the bloke needs a crack pipe emoji ..
Certainly smoking crack.

Regardless of your thoughts on the Storm Cronk deserves to be 3 or 4 surely.
His longevity and what he brought to the teams he played for is understated here
38 games for Aus and 22 for Qld, then getting the Roosters over the line twice.

I would think that DCE's record would slot him the top 10 so far.
 

Shoe1

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Chris O’Sullivan, Steve Georgalis and Mick Neil were better than a few of them too.
 

Lyonstomenzies

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Des is pretty hard done in my opinion. Also I think think Cronk should be higher on that list.
 

Ranga

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Messages
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Certainly smoking crack.

Regardless of your thoughts on the Storm Cronk deserves to be 3 or 4 surely.
His longevity and what he brought to the teams he played for is understated here
38 games for Aus and 22 for Qld, then getting the Roosters over the line twice.

I would think that DCE's record would slot him the top 10 so far.
I agree, i'm an unashamed Cronk fan and I reckon he gives Thurston a run for his money.

DCE copped it a bit when QLD lost in 2014 and he was partnering Thurston due to Cronk's injury. How Thurston escaped blame is beyond me; Thurston was apparently the immortal in the waiting but didn't step up (at all). If DCE partnered Cronk, I think QLD win as Cronk was the master at executing the game plan and allowing others to shine. A great player, imo (and the fact he seemingly has no time for Smith is a quality that, although common, should not be overlooked.)
 

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