Origin Greats: Who are the best second rowers?

IT'S time for the big fellas to enter the stadium and get the crowd stirred up.

Gorden Tallis and Paul Gallen may be loved by their respective home crowds but when they step across each others' borders they're not going to get a whole lot of love.

It's part of our Origin Greats series, where two league legends, King Wally Lewis and Benny Elias, have picked their best ever teams, and you have the chance to test yourself against them.

But there's a catch: they'll name teams from opposing states, with Lewis naming his best NSW Origin side and Elias selecting his all-time best Queensland team.

The public poll results and the picks of Lewis and Elias will run in print and online on game day, May 27.

So far we've looked at the fullbacks, wingers, centres, five-eighths, halfbacks, props and hookers. Today we'll examine the second rowers.


They called him "Crusher" for a very good reason. Noel Cleal looked like Ned Kelly as he was just as mean the way he smashed through any defence, including Queensland's

Balmain's Paul Sironen was a giant of a man whose size and ability to off-load made him a nightmare for defenders to handle.

Then there was Steve Menzies, a cover-tackling try-scoring dynamo who ran like a centre three-quarter and was a tremendous support player.

Wayne Pearce could not be left out of any list.

The ultimate professional and one of the fittest players to pull on a jumper. Junior set a standard for others to follow.

Talking of players who could go 80 minutes leads us to the final nomination, Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen who steered NSW to a drought-breaking Origin victory last year.

Vote: Who did Wally pick as the best Blues second rower? Click on the poll to consider all options.


The Raging Bull Gorden Tallis put fear into his rivals with his ferocious running while Trevor Gillmeister, a much smaller man, would send his opposition running in the opposite direction with a brutal brand of rib-rattling defence that earned him the nickname "The Axe"

Big Brad Thorn, a dual international for Australia and the All-Black makes our list because he was a winner and players wanted him in their side.

The same could be the said for Paul "Fatty" Vautin, who was equally at home in attack or chopping down players on the burst.

Finally there was Gary  "Sven" Larson who was a defensive machine leading the tackle count every time he took the field. If it moved and was wearing a different jumper, Larson would chop it down.

Vote: Who did Benny pick as the best Maroons second rower? Click on the poll to consider all options.

Click here to vote on the fullbacks

Click here to vote on the wingers

Click here to vote on the centres

Click here to vote on the five-eighths

Click here to vote on the halfbacks

Click here to vote on the props

Click here to vote on the hookers

Did we miss any other worthy second rowers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.