Sunday, 20 November 2011

A weakness for outside backs

Having a look at a few rugby players on the web for the first time in a while, I foundthis 2008 list of the thirty best players of the past thirty years, excluding those not eligible to play for Australia:
  1. Andrew Johns
  2. Wally Lewis
  3. Brad Fittler
  4. Darren Lockyer
  5. Allan Langer
  6. Mal Meninga
  7. Peter Sterling
  8. Laurie Daley
  9. Brett Kenny
  10. Bradley Clyde
  11. Mick Cronin
  12. Steve Walters
  13. Glenn Lazarus
  14. Steve Rogers
  15. Gorden Tallis
  16. Shane Webcke
  17. Steve Roach
  18. Terry Lamb
  19. Ricky Stuart
  20. Ray Price
  21. Andrew Ettingshausen
  22. Danny Buderus
  23. Jonathan Thurston
  24. Cameron Smith
  25. Graham Eadie
  26. Steve Mortimer
  27. Benny Elias
  28. Wayne Pearce
  29. Nathan Hindmarsh
  30. Cliff Lyons
Although I have not access to enough rugby league footage to tell if this list really is accurate, what I do know about rugby league (the Super League war reduced my interest in the game I must confess) I can state that the main flaw with the list is positional. There is not a single winger in that list; though wingers never win player-of-the-year awards, that should hardly mean they should be omitted.
  • Eric Grothe senior would be the obvious choice to rectify this omission: for one thing he was one of only two players
Also, with fullbacks and centres, the list is not only weak but also places the few in those positions in odd places:
  • Darren Lockyer
  • Mal Meninga
  • Mick Cronin
are all very high given the lack of outside backs in the list as a whole. Then Graham Eadie, though from my limited experience watching the sport the bets player I have seriously seen, is a little too old (he first played in 1971) to be a part of a list covering the period from 1978 to 2007.

As for inside backs, it is hard to see apart from his bad injury record (his last injury-free season was in 1989) how Greg Alexander was not preferred over Steve Mortimer or Cliff Lyons.

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