Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns has named his top five current players in the NRL, putting Storm captain Cameron Smith on the rugby league throne.
In front of Melbourne’s grand final showdown against the Panthers on Sunday, Johns demanded there had been no player since Wally Lewis who has had as significant an effect on the game until Smith featured the modern time.
“Cameron Smith is obviously my number one,” Johns told Wide World of Sports’ Immortal Behaviour. “I think Cameron is the best player I’ve seen since Wally Lewis.
“I wasn’t old enough to understand the brilliance and the dominance of Wally. We look at Cameron and he’s laid back and never flustered, but deep down there’s a deep desire to win, and a competitiveness that not everyone has got.”
Pursuing Smith into the Eighth’s best five, in no specific order, was Panthers wonder Nathan Cleary, Roosters whiz James Tedesco, Storm playmaker Cameron Munster and Raiders stalwart Jack Wighton.
“Nathan Cleary is up there,” Johns said. “Tedesco, Munster and Jack Wighton, too.
“And if you have a look, all those guys were up the top of the Dally M’s. You know, we’re jumping up and down about the Dally M’s but the best players were all up there.”
Johns spared unique notice for Souths star Cody Walker who he accepted just barely passes up his top-level group for 2020.
“Cody is whisker behind those guys,” he said.
Should Smith leave the game with a premiership in Sunday’s NRL decider, it’d be the ideal completion of what has been a domineering rule as the league’s premiere playmaker.
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