The great sport of rugby league is hoping to have a breakthrough year in 2022, with the Rugby League World Cup on the horizon this winter.
The 13-man code is predominately played in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and we take a look at the five best players to play the game.
The former halfback enjoyed an incredible career during the 1990s and early 2000s before hanging up his boots in 2006.
Johns won two NRL Grand Finals with the Newcastle Knights, while he also played in two World Cups for Australia.
Johns was named as the eighth ‘Immortal’ of rugby league, which are 13 players named as the greatest ever.
Like Johns, Lockyer played in the halves, and he also spent his entire NRL career with one club.
Lockyer played for Brisbane Broncos between 1995 and 2011, making over 350 appearances for the Queensland outfit.
He won numerous titles during his 16-year career, but he started the professional game as a full-back.
Lockyer’s durability and kicking game will never be forgotten, and he was rewarded with over 50 appearances for Australia.
Thurston only retired in 2018, and even now, at 38, there’s a chance he could still do a job at the highest level.
In 2015, he became the first-ever four-time Daily M Medallist for the NRL season’s best player.
He was also named the first-ever three-time winner of the Golden Boot Award for the world’s best player.
Thurston’s toughness and durability helped him throughout his career, and like Johns, he won two Grand Finals, while he was also part of the Australia squad that won the 2013 World Cup.
Churchill is credited with changing the role of full-back, while his name is still famous in the game today, even though he died in 1985.
The former South Sydney Rabbitohs star won five Premierships as a player, before winning three more as a coach.
The Clive Churchill Medal for man-of-the-match in the NRL bears his name, while he has a stand named after him at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Former Melbourne Storm ace Cameron Smith will go into the history books as one of the most prolific players in rugby league history.
Smith stayed at Melbourne Storm for his 18-year career, making over 400 appearances for the club in the process.
He holds numerous NRL records and may do so for some time, including most goals kicked, most tackles made, most Grand Final points scored and most wins.