Jim Beam recently ran a promotion, naming the 12 hardest men of Rugby League. The Daily Telegraph in Sydney published the 12 Rugby League hardmen and the list is as follows;

The Jim Beam “Toughest 12”: Kevin Ryan, Shane Webcke, Noel Kelly, John Sattler, Malcolm Reilly, Ray Price, John O’Neill (dec), Mal Meninga, Geoff Toovey, Terry Randall, Trevor Gillmeister and Tom Raudonikis.

While there are some certainties there, the likes of Geoff Toovey must certainly be questioned. While Toovey possessed silky skills and terrier like qualities; can he be entered into ‘toughest’ category?

The team here at NRLnews.com got together and came up with a few names that most certainly should have been on the list: (By tough we are talking about the guys that could dish out the dirt and cop it back with ease.)

Les Boyd: One of the hardest men to ever play the game. Boyd’s wrecking ball style saw him crush opponents physically before even worrying about the ball. While his fairness is regularly questioned, few could doubt his physical presence – he was simply a ‘hard man’ and one of the toughest to play League.

Wally Lewis: A rare breed of player that had the ultimate skill levels combined with the physical requirements to stand up to any opponent. An outright ‘tough guy’ Lewis could stand up to players much bigger and stronger and still come away a winner. Truly was ‘The King’ and possessed plenty of tough stuff that he dealt out regularly. Would resort to the biff if needed, but rarely had to, as opposing players feared the wrath of the great man.

Mark Geyer: An outright madman. The tough and physical Geyer sent fear racing through his opponents when he ran the ball or when he lined them up for a tackle. Geyer loved the shoulder charge and was always happy to turn on the biff when needed. A real force in the late 80’s and early 90’s when toughness was virtually mandatory.

Gordon Tallis: A brutal forward who was a talented player and had a very short fuse. Few tested the man they called Gordy – after his displays in the tough department. Virtually put Penrith forward Ben Ross in hospital after unloading on him with fists of rage. Rarely beaten and always feared, Tallis was a *must* to be included on the tough list.

Rob Gibbs: The man they called Rambo, this man ran hard, straight and had no thought of self preservation. Loved to put on the biff and unleashed his knuckles regularly. The journeyman League player feared no one in his day, but plenty kept well away from him.

We’d love to hear your comments! So NRL News readers, feel free to comment on this post or drop your thoughts in the shoutbox. We’ll look at your selections and add to the list.


By ricky

2 thoughts on “Toughest Men in Rugby League”
  1. Yeah, more Toovey bashing.

    How can a bloke who had his face stomped on (97 grand final) and then returned to the field not be considered amongst the toughest of all time?!

  2. how can sattler be left out played an entire grand fina with badly broken jaw in the toughest era of rugby league, the story goes that sattler abused team members for “protecting him” at half time and warned them that they better not try to protect him in the second half! what a tough man

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