NRL Team of the Decade: Panel of legends to decide 2010s greatest

Unbreakable

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NRL Team of the Decade: Panel of legends to decide 2010s greatest

Michael Chammas & Troy Whittaker
Mon 19 Aug 2019, 03:23 PM

With the decade about to come to an end, NRL.com has assembled an all-star judging panel to determine the best team of the past 10 years.

The judging panel includes Immortal quartet Mal Meninga, Andrew Johns, Wally Lewis and Bob Fulton, as well as premiership-winning coaches Phil Gould, Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson and Ricky Stuart.

Hall of famers Peter Sterling, Darren Lockyer, Danny Buderus and Laurie Daley are among the other greats of the game to select their 17-man team.

The Team of the Decade, which includes several players touted as future Immortals, will be unveiled on NRL.com on Wednesday.

Fans will get the chance to vote for their team of the 2010’s following Wednesday's unveiling of the judging panel's team.

In the lead-up to the announcement, NRL.com will publish some of the judges’ 17-man line-ups over the next 48 hours, starting with Johns and Lockyer.

Johns, the eighth Immortal, couldn’t leave Tom Trbojevic out of his Team of the Decade, selecting him on the bench. The former Knights halfback opted for former Warriors star Manu Vatuvei on one wing and chose Sonny Bill Williams on the bench although he only played two seasons in the NRL over the past decade but had such a massive impact at the Roosters.

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Lockyer has gone with two wingers who have chosen to play other sports - Valentine Holmes and Semi Radradra. The former Brisbane skipper has unsurprisingly picked a lot of Maroons in his team with Radradra the only player in his back line who did not represent Queensland. Paul Gallen and Boyd Cordner on the bench are the only two NSW players to make the former Kangaroos captain's squad.

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Team of the Decade candidates

Fullbacks

We've been blessed with an abundance of phenomenal fullbacks in the past decade, from Billy Slater, who cemented his legend status despite a bad injury run, to one-club champions Brett Stewart and Anthony Minichiello.

Darius Boyd helped the Dragons to a drought-breaking title in 2010 and Jarryd Hayne's star burned brightly before his NFL dalliance while current marvels James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic and 2018 Dally M Medallist Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continue to push the boundaries of excellence.

Wingers

Speed, power and freakish finishing have been leading attributes on the wing. Josh Addo-Carr's blinding speed, Blake Ferguson and Hayne's strength, Brett Morris and Manu Vatuvei's try-scoring prowess and Jason Nightingale's consistency make them worthy candidates.

There's also code-hoppers Semi Radradra and Valentine Holmes, whose relatively short NRL careers were crammed with brilliance out wide.

Centres

Greg Inglis may have played fullback for the majority of the 2010s at Souths but his destructive displays at centre for Queensland earned him a nomination in the front line. Another Maroons great in Justin Hodges battled injuries until his 2015 retirement, though his class was undeniable on the field.

Jamie Lyon led Many to two grand finals, winning in 2011, and formed a lethal partnership with hit-man Steve Matai. Will Chambers has achieved success with Melbourne and Queensland, while Jarrod Croker, Josh Morris and Michael Jennings are still playing to a high standard.

Roosters weapon Latrell Mitchell has already been labelled the world's best player during his short career.

Five-eighth

The five-eighth field is filled with all-time greats including Johnathan Thurston, Benji Marshall and James Maloney. Future greats Cameron Munster and Luke Keary make the cut through their elite work in the latter half of the 2010s.

Jamie Soward was the game's best pivot when the Dragons won the competition in 2010 and was a key member of Penrith's side which surged into the finals in 2014. Kieran Foran has recently been dogged by injury but his whole-hearted efforts in his Manly days were outstanding.

Halfback

The perfectionist, Cooper Cronk, leads the halfback field, having won three premierships this decade (2012, '17, '18) and achieved Origin and Test glory. Thurston appears in the list given he wore the No.7 at club level from 2014 onwards.

Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson has dazzled defences since his debut in 2011, while Mitchell Pearce, Daly Cherry-Evans and Adam Reynolds have dominated as well.

Lock

Veteran Paul Gallen is joined by powerhouse Jason Taumalolo, the skilful Corey Parker and workhorse Jake Trbojevic in the lock ranks.

Englishman Sam Burgess''s inspirational Clive Churchill Medal-winning display in the 2014 grand final stands as the highlight of his terrific decade in the NRL, save for 2015's foray to rugby union.

Second-rowers

Roosters, NSW and Australian captain Boyd Cordner has epitomised excellence in the back row, as did no-nonsense operators Ryan Hoffman and Luke Lewis.

Wade Graham's skill on the edge is unparalleled, while Ben Teo's influence in South Sydney's 2014 premiership cannot be undervalued. Sonny Bill Williams was only back in the NRL for 2013 and '14 but brought instant success to the Roosters with a title in his first year.

Props

Sam Burgess appears in the prop contenders too, with James Graham, Matt Scott, Andrew Fifita and Nate Myles other solid options.

Internationals front-rowers Josh Papalii, Jesse Bromwich and Aaron Woods have also stayed at the top for long periods and wouldn't look out of place in any engine room.

Hooker

Tipped as a near certainty to become an Immortal one day, Cameron Smith is the obvious candidate for the hooking position but Robbie Farah, Michael Ennis and, more recently, Josh Hodgson and Damien Cook apply pressure for the throne.

Source: https://www.nrl.com/news/2019/08/19/nrl-team-of-the-decade-panel-of-legends-to-decide-2010s-greatest/?utm_source=NRLFBContent&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=NetworkContent
 

Tom

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Who cares, just another opportunity for another big NRL group wankfest over certain players. Get on with the game or at least do something useful.
 

Unbreakable

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1. Billy Slater
2. Semi Radradra
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Manu Vatuvei
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Jesse Bromwich
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Sam Burgess
13. Corey Parker

14. Shaun Johnson
15. Luke Lewis
16. Jason Taumalolo
17. James Graham

That'd probably be my 17 tbh.
 

mrslong

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SBW getting picked? Dude only played one or two seasons this decade, yeah?
I'll allow SBW 1 year if we can include Lockyer's 2 years.

1 B Slater
2 J Hayne
3 G Inglis
4 J Hodges
5 J Yowyeh
6 D Lockyer
7 J Thurston
8 M Scott
9 C Smith
10 P Civoniceva
11 S Thaiday (see Darius, his last 2 years killed his legacy, you need to retire)
12 S Burgess
13 C Parker

14 J Taumalolo
15 N Myles
16 P Gallen
17 L Lewis
 
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Big Pete

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1. Billy Slater
2. Jarryd Hayne
3. Justin Hodges
4. Greg Inglis
5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith
10. Paul Gallen
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Sam Burgess
13. Jason Taumalolo

14. Daly Cherry-Evans
15. Andrew Fifita
16. Sonny-Bill Williams
17. David Klemmer

Strangely, the player most likely to drop out of the side is the one and only Bronco. I believe you could make a strong case for Jamie Lyon, but since he didn't make much of an impact in the representative arena, it leaves the position wide open. At this stage, I'd lean towards Justin because he was so good at setting up his outside man and had more of an influence than the others, but could certainly see an argument.

I'm not sold on SBW, you could definitely make a case for a Gillett or a Lewis in that role, but the media is so transfixed by him and what he was capable of that he becomes an easy choice.

I don't like how players tend to get selected out of position for these exercises, but it is what it is. I consider both the wingers no-brainers. Gallen's profile in the game gives him an advantage and although he's been through his share of controversy, his longevity can't be questioned. I consider Burgess more of a lock than anything, but he's versatile enough and does find himself on an edge close to the line. 14 could go to anyone, even Lockyer who for mine has to be considered because he retired as the Australian captain. For my money, it doesn't get more high profile than that and you get a free pass into most Top 100 lists and honours celebrating the decade. Still, I'll go with Cherry-Evans because it's a role he actually played and I think he edges out the other candidates like Morgan, Hunt, Farah and the like.
 

mitch222

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My team
1. Billy Slater
2. Brett Morris
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Jarryd Hayne
6. Jonathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith
10. Matt Scott
11. Sam Burgess
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Paul Gallen

14. Jason Taumalolo
15. James Maloney
16. Corey Parker
17. Luke Lewis
 

Tom

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You'd think they would have left Hayne out. Y'know, just in case. It could turn out to be a major embarrassment if you include him.
 

Sproj

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You'd think they would have left Hayne out. Y'know, just in case. It could turn out to be a major embarrassment if you include him.
I love that you think the NRL are smart enough to think about that. This is an organisation that gives a player's wife a 15k ring and also allows said player's team to wear a jersey commemorating an illegal GF win.
 

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