We look at six of the best stand-offs who have played in the NRL.
The Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia legend could have easily been placed within the best full-backs of all time as well as one of the best stand-offs.
Throughout his long and storied career, Lockyer became one of the most talented and accomplished players to step foot on a rugby league field, winning four premierships with the Broncos, seven State of Origins with the Maroons and a World Cup with the Kangaroos. The versatile back won several individual accolades and they were highlighted by his two Golden Boot awards in 2003 and 2006. Upon his retirement in 2011, Lockyer scored 122 tries in 355 appearances for Brisbane, nine tries in 36 games for Queensland and 35 tries in 59 matches for Australia.
The New Zealand international has developed a reputation as being one of the most skilful and creative players around with his eye for a pass and ability to create something out of nothing being second to none.
The 2008 World Cup winner has spent most of his career with the Wests Tigers, playing for the club over the course of two different spells. During his first spell between 2003-13, he was the key catalyst in the side’s 2005 NRL Premiership win alongside claiming the 2010 Golden Boot. After a stint in rugby union and a spell with St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos back in rugby league, Marshall returned to the Tigers in 2018 and even now at the age 35, he has still not lost any of the flamboyance and creativity that made him stand out from the rest.
Before making his way to Super League and joining the Catalan Dragons, the New South Wales representative spent a total of 11 seasons in the NRL, playing for the likes Melbourne Storm, New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and Penrith Panthers between 2009-2019.
Over those years, he became a highly valuable points scoring machine as well as seeing Championship success along the way. The Australia international was an integral member in the Roosters side that clinched NRL glory in 2013 alongside helping Cronulla end 50 years of hurt by securing the 2016 title. By the end of his last season with Penrith, Maloney finished 11th on the league’s all-time points scoring list with 1,825 to his name.
There are not many stand-offs today who are as elusive and strong a ball carrier as the Melbourne Storm playmaker.
Since making his debut in 2014, the 25-year-old has shown a great deal of versatility playing at full-back and centre but has shown the best of his ability when wearing the number six jersey, winning the Dally M Stand-off of the Year in 2018 and 2019. Even after Aussie legend Cooper Cronk moved on from Melbourne, Munster had no qualms in taking the mantle as the Storm’s chief playmaker. Since 2016, he has been a key factor in three Minor Premierships and an NRL title win with the Storm. The Queensland representative still has many years left in him.
Morgan is another stand-off who has shown plenty of adaptability during his career, playing at full-back, centre and scrum-half since making his debut for North Queensland in 2010.
But again, the stand-off position seems to be where we have seen much more of the 28-year-old. A Queensland representative and Australia international who may never be the most magical or flashy to watch – but his game management and field general like qualities have made him one of the standout number sixes in the competition. The Cowboys captain has also been part of three Queensland Origin series wins, a World Cup triumph and an NRL Championship with North Queensland.
The 2000 Golden Boot winner can easily be considered one of the finest players ever to take to the field in first-grade Australian rugby league.
Although Fittler’s career began nine years before the NRL’s beginnings, the former New South Wales and Australia captain still had a long a storied career that saw him continue his dominance in to the start of the NRL era. After starting off his career with Penrith in 1989, he eventually moved to Sydney in 1996 where he would stay until his retirement in 2004. Alongside his Golden Boot award, he won plenty more individual accolades, highlighted by three Dally M five-eighth of the Year awards (1998, 1999 and 2002) as well as Dally M Captain of the Year in 1999. In his 16-year career, Fittler was a part of three Premiership winning sides (one NSWRL and two NRL) and three World Cup wins with Australia. In the end, he was inducted in to both the NSWRL and Australian Hall of Fame.
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