In each decade that passes there are hundreds of talented rugby players taking the field but only a select few are considered great. I've been blessed to have had such a long rugby career where along the way I've had the opportunity to play alongside and coach some of Australia's greatest names.
It has been a privilege to see some of these players up close and personal, and like everyone else, I am astounded by their ability to mesmerise and excite all those they are competing against and everyone watching from the stands.
No one can take credit for the natural ability these great players possess although you can notice distinct similarities within this elite group that differentiates them from us tradesman-like players. Our attack coach at the Reds, Jim McKay, likes to refer to these elites as the ''wand-wavers'' as they do their best work with the ball in two hands, weaving their magic to deceive the defence.
Australia has been lucky to see its fair share of great playmakers and there are two running around at the moment in Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale that I've had the chance of getting to know well. I've been spoilt to have coached both Kurtley and Quade and their abilities bring back memories of plenty of great No.10s to have played our sport.
Lloyd Walker was the first great playmaker I encountered. He was a Randwick inside-centre that who later moved to 10 that was both unlucky and privileged to be playing outside the great Mark Ella. He played Test rugby, albeit briefly, and was faster than many people thought.
Lloyd was the first ''wand-waver'' I ever came across as he had the ability to cast spells on the defence. He carried the ball to the line in two hands and was unstoppable with his sleight of hand.
Mark Ella was the same era as Lloyd and had the same rugby pedigree and expression. I played one season with Mark and he had the wand as he played flat and hard at the line. The harder the defence came, the closer to it he played and the better his skills would work.
Mark was also great at getting a second touch - passing and then getting the ball back in the same movement. It was a skill Kurtley showed against the Reds the other night and it brought back memories.
Stephen Larkham was a very tall halfback who quickly transformed into a world-class fullback before finding a home at 10. His passing skills were brilliant - impeccable on both sides no matter what distance his target was at. He brought width into the game with his flat and precise passes hitting the mark on every occasion.
Normally I am not a big fan of the cut-out pass, as the defence will arrive before the ball if it is thrown poorly. However the greats can throw the cut-out with ease with their dart-like passes hitting their teammates in space to create opportunities.
Quade and Kurtley did this brilliantly the other night and it was a pleasure to watch. The great players are effortless with the ball but know how and when to pass, and even more importantly, can disguise the length of their pass to make it more effective.
Such was the talent of Larkham that the Brumbies and Wallabies of his era had set-plays named about his ability to throw needle-type passes.
Tactically, you can do a lot if you can accurately pass a ball but the good playmakers can also run. As much as their reputation was founded on their craft with the ball, they also had the ability to take on the line.
Ella got four tries in the grand slam European tour of 1984 but his passing, second touches and ability to take on the line were also sublime. Larkham was another of the great runners while we saw Beale ghost through the other night and Quade set up the Adam Wallace-Harrison try by doing the same.
In the end these guys loved their craft and applied their minds to the task. They all made it look easy and the harder and faster the opposition was, the better they play. This wasn't a surprise as while they had elite physical talents, they were also students of the game. They knew the cause and effect of actions and were able to communicate it phase-after-phase.
Reds halfback Will Genia may not have a No.10 on his back but is too a playmaker in his own right and has many similar skills. The ability to run, pass and deceive is not lost on him.
It's also interesting that the great playmakers we remember generally forged great relationships with the men inside and outside of them. Playmakers need others to pass the ball to. Even the greats would have had little impact if not surrounded by the workers around them to give them options. You can wave the wand only so many times but there won't be any magic if no one is in support.