In 1981 Rugby League Week selected an exclusive group of players dubbed 'The Immortals'. The initial group of players consisted of Clive Churchill, Bob Fulton, Reg Gasnier, and Johnny Raper. The Immortals are selected from players in the post-war era.

Note : Rugby League Week holds no official affiliation with any of the governing bodies of rugby league in Australia.

Selected by an illustrious panel of 13 expert judges, the eighth Immortal will be crowned at the annual Men of League dinner in Sydney during NRL Grand Final week 2012. The announcement will be telecast on the Nine Network. A who’s who of rugby league has been assembled for the Immortals judging panel, including: seven-time premiership coach Wayne Bennett; Channel Nine commentary guru Ray Warren; the voice of league Ray Hadley; veteran News Ltd journalist Phil Rothfield; Sydney Morning Herald expert Roy Masters; ARL Commission chairman John Grant; former Rugby League Week editors Ian Heads, Norman Tasker, Tony Durkin, Geoff Prenter and Martin Lenehan; league historian David Middleton, and; current Rugby League Week editor Mitchell Dale.

1981 Original Immortals
Reg Gasnier, John Raper, Bob Fulton, Clive Churchill


Immortals in Waiting

1. Clive Churchill
2. Bob Fulton
3. Reg Gasnier
4. John Raper
5. Graeme Langlands
6. Wally Lewis
7. Arthur Beetson

Andrew Johns (1993-2007)
Brad Fittler (1989-1992)
Allan Langer (1987-2002)
Peter Sterling (1978-1992)
Mal Meninga (1978-1994)
Ron Coote (1964-1978)
Norm Provan (1951-1965)

The Immortals

2003 - 7th Immortal

Arthur Beetson
One of the greatest attacking forwards the game has produced, Beetson played three games for Queensland - including the first Origin game - and 14 Tests for Australia. He is best remembered for being plucked out of reserve grade with Parramatta to captain the Maroons in the inaugural Origin clash in 1980, leading his home state to a 20-10 victory. Beetson was born in Roma, the home town of Queensland fullback Darren Lockyer, and helped Brisbane club Redcliffe win the 1965 premiership before moving to Sydney to play with Balmain. Beetson gained a reputation as a poor trainer but his immense talent earned him a place in the third and deciding Test against Great Britain in 1966. He captained Australia in France in 1973 and against Great Britain in the second Test in 1974. His transformation from the tag of "lazy forward" to brilliant leader was completed with Eastern Suburbs' consecutive NSW premiership wins in 1974-75. Beetson played 74 games for Balmain, 132 for Easts and 16 for Parramatta before returning to Brisbane to captain-coach Redcliffe in 1981. He coached Queensland to success from 1981-84 and his short stint as Australian coach ended with a loss to New Zealand at Lang Park in 1983. The likeable character enjoyed mixed success as coach of Easts (1986-89) and Cronulla (1992-93) before returning to the Roosters as a recruitment officer.

1999 - 5th & 6th Immortal

Graeme Langlands
Graeme Langlands may have been the greatest competitor of his era. He knew no fear and drove himself mercilessly. An instant success when he joined the St George juggernaut as fullback in 1963 his trademark sidestep enthralled crowds at club, state and international levels. His courage and will were legendary exemplified when he inspired Australia to an Ashes deciding win in the third test of 1974. Responsible for so many magic moments on the field there will never be another 'Changa.'

Wally Lewis
Graeme Langlands and Wally Lewis were named as Australia's 5th and 6th immortals of the post war era. Both champions of their eras were added to the four original immortals named in 1981, Clive Churchill, Bob Fulton, Reg Gasnier and John Raper. It's an honour well deserved to both men who brought a lot of joy to many Rugby League fans around the world. The Immortals have been added by two but no way downgraded. In fact, the additions of Langlands and Lewis make the list look even better and show what great players Australia has produced post-war. Langlands was the unlucky Immortal omission in 1981 and the unlucky man to miss out this time was definitely Mal Meninga. His achievements in the game stand him on a pedestal of his own.

1981 Original Immortals

Clive Churchill
One of the greatest all-time Rugby League players and fully deserving of being named one of the 4 immortals. Churchill was a genius as evidenced by his nicknaming as "The Little Master". Churchill hailed from Hamilton in Newcastle he played for Country Seconds in 1947 before being snapped up by Souths during the same year with an offer of 12 pounds for a win and nothing for a loss. In 1948, he played his first match for NSW which was the start of an amazing representative career for NSW and Australia. Churchill played 34 Test matches for Australia with 32 of them in succession. He captained Australia in a record 24 Test matches. Churchill excelled in all aspects of the game. In attack he had the uncanny knack of chiming into the backline to provide opportunities for his wingers and in defence he was a devastating tackler making many fine tackles on much bigger opponents when it seemed certain they were going to score a try. He also relieved pressure on his team with his long and accurate left foot kicks in general play. Also a handy goal kicker as well. Churchill won four premierships during his fine career at Souths in 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1954. Injury denied Churchill a chance at a 5th premiership in 1955. After his retirement, he went on to have a career in coaching, starting as captain-coach of for his final year at Souths in 1958 and QLD for 1959-60. He had spells as NSW State Coach in the early 1960's while coaching Moree in the NSW Country for 1961 and Canterbury-Bankstown in 1962-63. He linked back with Souths in 1966 and spent a Souths record 10 seasons there presiding over their last 'golden era' which yielded their last four premierships, 1967-68, 1970-71 and they were runners up in 1969 as well. He resigned toward the end of a disappointing 1975 season. In August 1985, "The Little Master" lost his last battle, against cancer at the age of 58. Just before his death Churchill was honoured with an Order of Australia award and then heard that a new grandstand at the scene of some of his greatest triumphs, the Sydney Cricket Ground was to be named after him. After he died, the NSWRL decided that in his memory, a medal would be struck and presented to the Man of the Match in the NSWRL now ARL Grand Final. Peter Sterling was the inaugural winner in 1986 when Parramatta edged out Canterbury 4-2 in the premiership decider.


Bob Fulton
Bozo Fulton was an amazing talent. Playing originally with Wollongong Wests where he won a reserve grade title, Fulton went on to have a long career as an Australian player and coach. He racked up an array of achievements in both fields for Manly and Australia, especially being largely responsible for Manly's first premiership in 1972, ending up as leading pointscorer including 2 tries in the gf against Cronulla. His career was brilliant from start to finish, a true giant of the game. He spent most of his club life with the Sea Eagles with 3 seasons at Easts who he coached to the grand final in 1980. He later coached Manly to 2 premierships.

Reg Gasnier
Who will ever forget the dazzling brilliance of Reg Gasnier, the prince of centres. A product of St George juniors he was the linchpin of the invincible sides the club fielded through the 60s. 'Gaz' played in six of the winning grand final teams of the 60s. He was a rare genius. A player with a graceful running action, wonderful acceleration, razor-sharp reflexes and wonderful safe hands. Injury forced his premature retirement at age 28 leaving the league world in shock. Gasnier was gone but not forgotten

John Raper
One of the most colourful players the game has ever seen. Johnny Raper is rated by some to be above Churchill and Messenger as the best Rugby League player ever. Raper played in eight consecutive grand final winning Saint George teams. Brilliant in attack and defence it was his knack of setting up tries for others that made his name. Raper played 33 Tests for Australia and if one game defined the man it was the famous 50-12 thrashing of Great Britain on the 1963/64 Tour described by Frank Hyde as the greatest 80 minutes of football by any one player

The Immortals in Waiting

Andrew Johns (1993-2007)
Andrew Johns, who played 23 State of Origin games for NSW and represented Australia in 21 Test matches, including the 1995 World Cup and the 2001 Kangaroo tour, must be regarded among the finest of all time. Johns collected three Dally M awards and two Golden Boots as international player of the year. Johns was part of Newcastle's premiership-winning sides in 1997 and again in 2001, when he led the Knights to a 30-24 win over Parramatta. His career began with a NRL debut against Gold Coast at Seagulls Stadium in 1993. He scored more points and played more games for Newcastle than any other player in the club's history which . On April 10, 2007 he announced his retirement from rugby league which was cut short by a serious neck injury.

Brad Fittler (1989-1992)
Bradley Fittler AM (born February 5, 1972 in Auburn, New South Wales) is one of the all-time legends of rugby league in Australia. He had captained both the New South Wales and Australian teams and in 2000 was awarded the Golden Boot award. His first grade career started in 1989 at the Penrith Panthers against Wests while still at school. He played in Penrith's 1990 Grand Final loss, then in the Premiership winning side of 1991. In 1996, he joined the Sydney City Roosters where he played nine seasons, captaining them to the 2002 Grand Final victory. Born in 1972 "Freddy" represented the Australian Schoolboys from McCarthy Catholic College in 1988 and 1989. He was selected for Kangaroo Tours in 1990, 1994 and 2001 and played in the World Cups of 1992, 1995 and 2000. He captained both the NSW State of Origin side and Australia and also led the Roosters to a premiership in 2002 and successive grand final appearances in 2003 and 2004 before retiring at the end of 2004. He captained Australia in 20 tests, winning 17 and losing 3 and in a further 5 victories in the 2000 World Cup. He captained NSW in 14 matches, winning 8 and losing 6. Two years after Brad Fittler announced his retirement from representative football, NSW coach Phil Gould brought him back to State of Origin for the second and third game. Both he and Gould were farewelled in the last game at Telstra Stadium after he scored the winning try that sealed the NSW victory. He remains both the youngest NSW State of Origin player (18 years 114 days) and the youngest Kangaroo representative (18 years 247 days). Fittler played more total matches (409 combining club and representative games) than any other player. He was named a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Allan Langer (1987-2002)
Allan Jeffery Langer AM (born July 30, 1966 in Ipswich, Queensland), often nicknamed "The Little General", and commonly known as "Alf" or "Alfie", is an Australian former rugby league half-back. He played most of his career as captain of the Brisbane Broncos, with whom he won the 1992 Clive Churchill Medal and Dally M Medal, as well as the club's player of the year award 5 times. Langer made his State of Origin debut in 1987, and his superb performance saw him signed on with the newly-established Brisbane Broncos in 1988. Captained under Wally Lewis, Langer developed much skill with the ball and learnt much from his mentor, and in 1988 he was the Broncos' player of the year. That year he also made his debut for the Australian test side against Papua New Guinea. Following the axing of Lewis from the Broncos and the retirement of Gene Miles, the diminutive Langer became captain in 1992. Alfie, along with Steve Renouf, was the Broncos' top try scorer that year, and the Little General steered his team to their maiden Premiership, winning the Clive Churchill Medal for best and fairest player on the field in the Grand Final. The following year saw Langer again lead the Broncos to a Premiership, the first time a team which had finished 5th in the minor premiership had gone on to become premiers. Langer again captained the Broncos to premierships in 1997 (in the branched Super League) and in 1998 (in the integrated National Rugby League competition). In 1998, Langer and his mentor, Queensland (and Broncos) coach Wayne Bennett, became the first captain-coach combination to win the NRL Premiership, State of Origin and Test series in the same year.

After a lacklustre start to the 1999 season, Langer announced his retirement from rugby league, with the Broncos' captaincy being passed onto Kevin Walters. However, Alfie soon came out of retirement to play in England for the Warrington Wolves. In 2001, Wayne Bennett made a surprise selection of Langer - then still playing in England - for the Queensland side in the third and deciding State of Origin match of that year. There were doubts as to whether Langer, in the twilight of his playing career, would be able to withstand the physical rigours of State of Origin football. However on the night Langer set up two tries and scored one himself, leading Queensland to victory only a year after they had suffered their worst ever State of Origin defeat. He became the oldest player to play in State of Origin football. Langer was later lured back to the Broncos for one final season in 2002 where, despite his good form, the team was unable to win the Premiership. At the time of his retirement, he has made the most appearances as captain for the Broncos.

Peter Sterling (1978-1992)
Peter Maxwell John Sterling OAM (born June 16, 1960 in Toowoomba, Queensland), nicknamed Sterlo, was one of the great Australian rugby league halfbacks and a major contributor to Parramatta's dominance of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership between 1981 and 1986. He gained his experience and insight by playing at Patrician Brothers' College Fairfield. Many rate him as one of the best halfbacks ever to play rugby league in company with Duncan Thompson, Alex Murphy, Allan Langer and Andrew Johns.

He played 19 Tests for the Australian national team between 1982 and 1988. He played in 13 State of Origins for New South Wales, winning man of the match on 4 occasions. He played in 4 premiership-winning sides with Parramatta in 1981-1983 and 1986 and has been inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.

Sterling joined the Parramatta Eels in 1978 making his first appearance as a stand-in fullback during the 1978 finals series. After a few games at five-eighth in 1979, Sterling shifted to halfback and established himself in 1980. 1981 saw Parramatta win their initial first grade title with Sterling's superb skill and control one of the decisive factors. He played for New South Wales that year without living up to his club form, but in 1982 Parramatta could do no wrong, apart from a 0-20 thrashing at the hands of Manly in the semi final. Sterling was chosen for the Kangaroo Tour despite having not played in the State of Origin series and played in every Test in that unbeaten tour side.

Sterling played in Australia's shock 12-19 Test loss to New Zealand in 1983 and helped Parramatta to a third successive title that year. After playing for Hull FC over the Australian summer, Sterling vacated his Test spot despite winning the Rugby League Week Player of the Year award in 1984 for the first time. 

1986 saw Sterling almost carry a clean sweep of the major awards - except the Rothmans Medal - and win the inaugural Clive Churchill Medal in Parramatta's fourth grand final victory. He again played every Test on an unbeaten Kangaroo tour of England that year. Despite Parramatta declining from premiers to seventh with Cronin and Price retiring and Grothe and Ella playing very little due to injuries, 1987 was undoubtedly Sterling's finest year. He swept all major player of the year awards - winning the Rothmans Medal by five points, the Dally M player of the year award, and the Rugby League Week player of the year award.

Sterling played 229 games for Parramatta, scoring 48 tries, one goal, and 15 field goals.

Mal Meninga (1978-1994)
Malcolm Norman Meninga AM (born July 8, 1960 in Bundaberg, Queensland) is an Australian rugby league identity. As a player he was a legendary centre. He has made the most appearances and scored the most points of any player in the green and gold jersey and has been inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.

Meninga made his first grade debut at the age of 18 with Souths Magpies in the BRL. He first played for Queensland in 1979, and helped Queensland to a win in the first ever Rugby League State of Origin match against New South Wales in 1980, converting seven goals from seven attempts (Meninga was one of the last players to use the kicking style of punting the end of the football with the toe of the boot). In 1986, Meninga joined the Canberra Raiders where he was to play all of his first grade club football in Australia. He led the side to their first premiership in 1989 after overcoming the highly fancied Balmain Tigers in the Grand Final. The following year Meninga led the Raiders to another grand final victory against the Penrith Panthers.

Meninga captained Australia for 23 Test matches between 1990 and 1994, and captained the Queensland State of Origin team for three years from 1992 to 1994. He remains the only player to captain a Kangaroo Tour on two occasions, in 1990 and 1994. Meninga played his last game for the Canberra Raiders in the 1994 Grand Final where he led his team to victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs and to their third premiership in six years, scoring the last try of the match. On December 4, 1994 at Béziers, France, he captained Australia to a 74-0 victory over the French, scoring the final try of the game, and of his career.