Former Kiwis skipper Mark Graham set to become first New Zealander inducted in NRL Hall of Fame

Rugby league's golden 1990s featured prominently as six players - including five from the era - were named as inductees into the NRL Hall of Fame last night.

Petero Civoniceva, Mark Graham, Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies, Ricky Stuart and Gorden Tallis were recognised for their playing achievements and will join the 100 inaugural members from 2008.

The six will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the SCG on August 1, which will also announce up to two new Immortals.

They were selected by a panel of 25 judges.

Longevity, individual achievements and representative appearances were all considered in the make-up of the players to be added.

Graham, a North Sydney stalwart and New Zealand Test captain in the 1980s, became the first Kiwi recognised.

Between the other five inductees there was a total of 1393 premiership matches, 123 Tests and 90 State of Origins played - as well as 12 premierships won.

Front rower Civoniceva was known for his uncompromising approach on the field but for being a gentleman off it and logged 309 NRL games between Brisbane and Penrith as well as 33 Origins for Queensland.

Mark Graham, Kiwis Long Luncheon, hosted by The Mad Butcher, Sir Peter Leitch. Ellerslie Convention Centre, Auckland. 12 June 2015. Copyright Photo: WIlliam Booth /
Former Kiwis skipper Mark Graham. Source: Photosport

Former Manly teammates Lyons (332) and Menzies (349) were at the core of a strong Sea Eagles team in the 1990s; the former a deft playmaker, the latter a seemingly unbreakable utility who became the highest try-scoring forward in the game.

Stuart was a scheming halfback who spent much of his career with Canberra and played 14 State of Origins for NSW and nine Tests for Australia before embarking on a coaching career.

Tallis was perhaps the most dominant forward in the competition during the mid to late 1990s with the Brisbane Broncos and went on to shine for both the Maroons and Queensland.

Graham played 146 NRL games and 29 Tests for the Kiwis. Source: 1 NEWS


Warriors show sportsmanship with post-game tribute to retiring Bronco Sam Thaiday

The Warriors continued their tradition of paying tribute to a retiring rival after inviting Broncos great Sam Thaiday into their team huddle following the win over Brisbane on Sunday.

Blake Green, who has captained the club this season in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s absence, said it was important to recognise the impact retiring champions like Thaiday, who announced his retirement last week, had made.

"We think it's important the people that have been a big part of the game and achieved everything, it's important for our group to show some respect for them," Green told Fox Sports.

"I guess it's something that is a part of our culture now, something we want to be remembered for as a playing group, we just told Sam this may be the last time we share a field with you so all the best in the future."

Last month, the Warriors gave retiring Cowboy Johnathan Thurston a similar send-off after winning in Townsville.  

James Gavet embraces Sam Thaiday after the match in Brisbane on Sunday. Source: Supplied



Benji Marshall backing Robbie Farah to extend his NRL career at the Wests Tigers

Benji Marshall knows a thing or two about turning back the clock.

And he says there's no reason why Wests Tigers teammate Robbie Farah can't continue to do so into the 2019 NRL season.

The evergreen veterans are weighing up their futures after proving age is no obstacle in their return to Concord this season.

Marshall, 33, said he is unlikely to address his contract until after the season while Farah, 34, signed a six-month deal after being granted a mid-season release by South Sydney.

The duo, the remnants of the Tigers' 2005 grand final-winning side, have relished renewing their combination since Farah's return to the joint venture last month.

They showcased their intimate understanding of each other's games as they prised open St George Illawarra's defence in their shock win on Sunday - their first match together since 2013.

"We're both slower but I think between the ears, a bit quicker," Tigers playmaker Marshall said.

"On the weekend, we looked at each other and he said 'you're a bit less erratic and a bit more grown up' and I looked at him and said 'you're a bit smarter too'.

"Things have changed but the one thing that's remained the same is we know how each other plays."

Farah turned in his best performance in years against the Dragons and made a convincing case for Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe and coach Ivan Cleary to offer the crafty No.9 a new deal.

Whether he plays on into a 17th season will depend on how his body handles the rigours of week-in and week-out first-grade football but Marshall was convinced Farah still had what it takes.

"You'd have to ask Robbie but judging by the way he's playing, I feel like with the same energy and him enjoying his footy and him being back at the Tigers, the way he can play, I feel like he can (play on)," Marshall said.

Farah was forced out of Concord at the end of 2016 following a public feud with then coach Jason Taylor, only to return after a year-and-a-half at the Rabbitohs.

The former NSW rake has acquired a reputation in some circles as a polarising and difficult figure however Marshall said he'd copped a bad rap.

"If anything I think people probably confuse 'difficult' with him wanting to be a winner, wanting to do whatever it takes to win," Marshall said.

"Sometimes that might get people offside but from my point of view, I've never found him difficult."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15:  David Nofoaluma of the Tigers celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the round 18 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at UOW Jubilee Oval on July 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Robbie Farah. Source: Getty