Andrew Johns named best rugby league player of past 30 years

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a rugby league magazine poll consisting of several knowledgable names of the game (yes, I’d say Mark Geyer is knowledgable enough) has named Andrew Johns the best player to have played the game over the past 3 decades. I can’t really argue the point – despite his publicised drug problem that was only revealed last year, and that I commented on briefly following the revelation, his on field accomplishments were simply outstanding. Those unseen dramas haven’t taken the gloss off the manner in which he led Newcastle to 2 premierships and NSW to many classic State of Origin wins,

Of particular note is him saying that his health is in great shape, which is a great testament and example that a person can recover from addictions and return to living a normal life without the need for drugs or other problematic devices.

I’ll be interested to see who fills the other places in the list of 30 to appear in Rugby League Week.


5 Responses

  1. Rubbish, there is no way he was better than Lewis. The selectors who chose him for this accolade were obviously not the selectors who couldn’t see fit to choose him in his preferred position for most of his test football career. Wally Lewis was never picked out of position during his representative career.

    Andrew Johns’ kicking in general play was excellent; he was a strong runner and a good defender however when compared to players like Langer, Sterling and Mortimer, I challenge anyone to argue that he was the best halfback , let alone the greatest player over the last 30 years.

  2. Lewis is a lot better play .
    with andrew john played with drugs they need to do what the ALF did with Gary Ablett and not consider him

  3. Wally Lewis did play out of position during his representative career he play with nomber 13 on his back

  4. I guess that considering The King spent most of his career outside of the NSWRL/ARL, yet managed to do what he did in Origin, was particularly notable. I assume you grew up in the Lewis era and may be more familiar with him than I am , Steve – did you see much of him when he did play in the QRL? I wonder whether the judges did.

    I found the complete list and will post it very soon.

  5. Andrew, I hate to rain on your parade but Wally Lewis never played rep football with the number 13 on his back; in the inaugural Sate of Origin in 1980 he wore the number 8 on his back, which was the number that you wore when you played Lock until 1987. At the time he was selected he was playing for Fortitude Valley as a Lock, so again he was never selected out of position as Johns was. Kristian, Lewis as you state didn’t play in the NSWRL until the Broncos joined the competition in ’88, however he captained a combined Brisbane club side which won the 1984 mid week cup competition against the Eastern Suburbs Roosters. Lewis won the first Golden Boot award, which for those who don’t know is awarded to the worlds best player, which in itself is a great achievement as he was playing in what was regarded as the “second best” competition in Australia. Yes I know Andrew Johns has since won this award twice, however so has Darren Lockyer and he is the only player to win it in two different positions. Wally Lewis is a rep footballer who is head and shoulders above his nearest competitor. He has won 8 State of Origin Man of the Match awards, and is the only person to do so in a loosing team. It is the age old argument to compare players from different eras, however it wasn’t that long ago that Lewis played, yet I think that the feats of Andrew Johns may have been a little fresher in the minds.

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