Profiles of the National Rugby League Hall of Fame Immortals

The Immortals is a term given to currently thirteen of the greatest rugby players in the National Rugby League. For one to make this list, the player has to show outstanding performances that either changes the game or advances it. Such performances often go beyond the field.

The thirteen names are Clive Churchill, John Raper, Reg Gasnier, Bob Fulton, Graeme Langlands, Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson, Andrew Johns, Herbert ‘Dally’ Messenger, Frank Burge, Dave Brown, Norm Provan and Mal Meninga.

The Origins of the Immortals

Initially, the Immortals were named by the Rugby League Week magazine. In 2018, the National Rugby League took up the name and inducted the five last names to make them thirteen.

The first names in were Clive Churchill, Johnny Raper, Reg Gasnier and Bob Fulton in 1981. This move by the Rugby League Week was not entirely as official as being backed by significant sports and governmental bodies. Still, the public praised the four names and held them with much respect.

To match the award, Hunter Valley vineyard Elliott Wine released a boxed set of 1977 vintage port, with individual players being represented on each bottle in the box. In 1999, Graeme Langlands and Wally Lewis were named as the next two Immortals. Arthur Beetson joined the team as the seventh Immortal in 2003. At the 2012 NRL Grand Finale Dinner, Andrew Johns became the eighth Immortal. Of the 13 names, Fulton, Johns, Langlands, Lewis and Raper are the only ones alive.

Earlier on, people criticized the listing of the Immortals since it only focused on players after the war. However, the judges made it clear that they only wanted to celebrate players they had seen in action, and so their reasoning settled the matter. Mal Meninga, Norm Provan, Dave Brown, Dally Messenger and Frank Burge joined the Immortals’ list on the 1st of August 2018.