JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Queenslanders will rebel if Johns becomes Immortal

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

NRL final: who has the best tactics?

Veteran NRL pundit Roy Masters analyses playing tactics of the Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm ahead of their face-off at Sunday's grand final.

PT0M0S 620 349

The rumblings from the Deep North began early in the week when some of Queensland's Former Origin Greats (FOGs) became convinced former NSW halfback Andrew "Joey" Johns was to become rugby league's eighth Immortal.

Maybe they followed the betting line which had the Maroons' former captain and current coach, Mal Meninga, as third favourite behind Johns and St George great, Norm Provan.

The judges, of whom I am one, haven't been told who has won the award.

Andrew Johns with the NRL premiership trophy in 2001.

Andrew Johns with the NRL premiership trophy in 2001. Photo: Getty Images

The announcement will be made on Thursday night at a black tie dinner hosted by the Men of League organisation, a past players' body which cares for disadvantaged members and their families.

Magazine Rugby League Week owns the Immortals brand, having inaugurated four in 1981 — South Sydney's Clive Churchill, St George's John Raper and Reg Gasnier and Manly's Bob Fulton.

Eighteen years later, another two were added — St George's Graeme Langlands and Queensland's Wally Lewis. And in 2003 another former Maroon captain, Arthur Beetson, became the seventh Immortal.

Mal Meninga on the attack for Canberra.

Mal Meninga on the attack for Canberra. Photo: Fairfax

So, it's only two Queenslanders out of seven and if "Joey" Johns is anointed tonight, the Maroons are running at 25 per cent.

That's a lower quota than the 50 per cent of the ARL Commission who either live in Queensland, or proudly wear their maroon scarves to Origin matches.

There is every indication Brisbane-based ARLC chairman, John Grant, will strike a deal with Rugby League Week to bring the Immortals brand inhouse and induct more players, and closer to their retirement.

Norm Provan and Western Suburbs captain Arthur Summons after famous 1963 grand final in the photograph which became the ...

Norm Provan and Western Suburbs captain Arthur Summons after famous 1963 grand final in the photograph which became the model for the NRL premiership trophy. Photo: John O'Gready

Apart from the commercial opportunities of exploiting recently retired heroes recognisable to babies in swaddling clothes, there has to be some order about the code's most prestigious award, considering there was an 18-year gap before an induction of two, a four-year break to the naming of one and now a nine-year leap to another single honouree.

Of the 18 judges for the eighth Immortal, only a few are residents of Queensland — a point not missed by the FOGs.

"We might look at passports for NSW people entering Queensland," one joked this week in a rebellion against Meninga's potential omission.

"Have you had a look at the number of Tests Johns has played (26), compared to Mal (46)?

"It's nearly double."

Yet Test matches weren't the concern of St George's trio of Immortals, who, like all living Immortals, were given a vote.

They supported their captain/coach, Provan, who represented Australia 18 times.

Johns' critics focused on his off-field behaviour and his admission he had taken illicit drugs while playing.

It was pointed out these were "party drugs", such as ecstasy, taken post game, rather the pre-game performance enhancers. But this is irrelevant.

The very definitive view of the original judges was that the award must be confined to a player's on-field skills and in this regard Johns, in my opinion, has no equal.

Apart from the fact he tackled like Raper, converted sideline tries like Churchill, threw cut-outs like Lewis, teased defences like Fulton, and kicked short and long, he rarely chose the wrong option on the field.

Judges were also told to disregard coaching achievements, disadvantaging Provan and Meninga.

I suspect Grant, who was one of the 18 judges, will insist the award embraces off-field behaviour and continuing commitment to the code.

For example, the charity work done by the fourth favourite for tonight's award — Men of League chairman Ron Coote — could not be considered.

Coote, the former Rabbitohs/Roosters back rower, is a member of Australia's Team of the Century, as are all the Immortals, together with Johns, Meninga and Provan.

Sadly, I suspect Provan's opportunity passed when his fellow St George teammate, Harry Bath, sat down in 1981 with commentator Frank Hyde and Sydney Morning Herald journalist Tom Goodman and chose the inaugural four.

Sure, Langlands and Beetson were added approximately 20 years after they retired. That is about the same time for which Meninga has been retired.

But the judges were told to select one Immortal and the prevailing mood appears to be to reward recently retired players, clearing the way for the Darren Lockyers, Billy Slaters and Cameron Smiths.

Should that talented Maroons trio become the 9th, 10th and 11th Immortals, it may partly placate the Queenslanders.

But not on Thursday night. Former Maroons tend to hit the rum when angry, becoming red-eyed and revolutionary.

Australia's first Rum Rebellion in 1808 led to the overthrow of the NSW Government and, should "Joey" be anointed on Thursday, another rum-fuelled revolution could see the end of Sydney's control of rugby league's most prestigious prize.


  • What a crock! Its a Sydney based paper - of course Johns will get the most votes. Doesn't mean he deserves it. Doesn't deserve to get a grandstand named after him, more than Ray Baartz or Craig Johnston.

    Football - the round one
    Date and time
    September 26, 2012, 2:13PM
    • Wake up and smell the roses, Johns was by far the most talented player of them all, you just had to watch him in action. By the way, I am a QLD supporter but I do recognise a talented player when I see one...

      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 2:58PM
    • Craig Johnson?!?!? Bwwwahahahahahahaha!!!

      Lazy Jesus
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 3:02PM
    • NORM PROVEN - The ONLY person to be considered. How the other two bopes can even be mentioned in the same sentence as Proven is an INSULT. Not only to a great player, a great human, but, and insult to the game of Rugby League

      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 5:26PM
    • I don't know why there is a limit of one? To choose one will be interpreted as denigration of the others, which it shouldn't be. Many other sports have a Hall of Fame concept where the membership numbers are adequate to see all candidates of this calibre included.

      If it had to be one though, I would suggest Johns. I remember reading in the SMH about 5 years ago about the Sharks South African Super 15 team (probably Super 12 or 14 then) having Johns pointed out to them in their Sydney hotel breakfast room when they happened to be staying at the same hotel as the NSW Origin side. (This was after Johns had retired.) The Sharks were aware of Johns and his skills, and invited him to take the team through some drills on kicking and angle running, which he did with the team later that morning.

      I think if your skill set is at a level where players from another code in another country are keen to see you in action, it speaks volumes about your ability.

      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 6:52PM
    • Meninga captained the greatest CLUB side to ever grace a rugby league field. Check out the 1994 grand final lineup:

      1. Brett Mullins
      2. Ken Nagas
      3. Mal Meninga
      4. Ruben Wiki
      5. Noa Nadruku
      6. Laurie Daley
      7. Ricky Stuart
      8. Quentin Pongia
      9. Steve Walters
      10. Paul Obsorne
      11. Jason Croker
      12. David Furner
      13. Bradley Clyde
      Coach Tim Sheens

      Oh and by the way, Joey's final minute 1997 set up try to win the game was done AND scored by Mal in 1990. Your move, Knights.

      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 10:34PM
    • Without a doubt I would be placing Provan and/or Meninga ahead of Johns. But then I'd also be looking at Peter Sterling as an option ahead of Johns as well. As far as the greatests Club sides though, I'd always be happy to put the Eels of '81, '82 or '83 up against any team. Listing for the '82 side here:

      1. Paul Taylor
      2. Neil Hunt
      3. Mick Cronin
      4. Steve Ella
      5. Eric Grothe
      6. Brett Kenny
      7. Peter Serling
      8. Geoff Bugden
      9. Steve Edge (c)
      10. Chris Phelan
      11. John Muggleton
      12. Steve Sharp
      13. Ray Price
      Res: Peter Wynn and Mark Laurie
      Coach: The Great Jack Gibson

      Date and time
      September 27, 2012, 11:01AM
    • I am as Queensland as they come but you couldn't complain if "joey" got it. In my mind there have only been 2 players in Origin history who actually "controlled" the speed of the game. Lewis and Johns.

      Date and time
      September 27, 2012, 11:38AM
  • Here we go... again. From the time Joey made his debut at half for NSW, he either was overlooked altogether or was overlooked for the likes of Toovey, Kimmorley and John Simon on more occasions than he was selected at half himself. How this makes him the halfback of the century, let alone an immortal, is beyond me. He had some spectacular, untouchable 3 or 4 seasons, but over his career... hardly.

    Tex Redmund
    Date and time
    September 26, 2012, 2:24PM
    • That's what I always thought. I didn't watch league for a big chunk of his career, but i certainly never got the impression he had the same impact as Meninga. Certainly not over as long a period. Johns was a fantastic footballer, no question. But an Immortal over Big Mal? It pains me to say it, but this New South Welshman thinks not. (Not that my opinion counts for anything ha ha).

      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 3:49PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 30vs SOU 0 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN 30vs NEW 12 Stats
STG 32vs WST 30 Stats
NQL 42vs GCT 12 Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR 24vs CBR 28 Stats
CRO 12vs MAN 14 Stats
CBY 26vs NZW 22 Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 1
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 18vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
CBY 11vs STG 10 Report Stats
BRI 16vs NQL 12 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
CRO 28vs SOU 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 2
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 12 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
NQL 39vs CRO 0 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 3
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 31vs SYD 12 Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 12vs NQL 32 Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 4
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI 16vs NQL 17 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 18 6 0 291 40
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 195 38
North Queensland Cowboys 24 17 7 0 133 38
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 119 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 14 10 0 42 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 14 10 0 -7 32
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 13 11 0 -2 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 12 12 0 27 28
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers