Andrew Johns roasts Brad Fittler over bungled halfbacks list, Thurston left out


Rugby league legends Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns have each named their top five halfbacks of all time.

Breaking down the game’s greatest halfbacks, Fittler was asked to name his list first, only to admit he wasn’t fully prepared.

The Roosters legend went on to quickly name Allan Langer, Ricky Stuart, Cooper Cronk, Greg Alexander and Andrew Johns as his top five halfbacks of all time.

“Allan Langer and Ricky Stuart, they both brought something different to the game. Ricky had a great pass and a kick, but Alfie just ran,” Fittler told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.

“Cooper Cronk, I think revolutionised that not every halfback has to be a certain type of player, he’s someone that wasn’t as traditional of a halfback as others. He showed just how to win through process, driving and getting the most out of yourself.

“Greg Alexander, he was unbelievable. He showed me what a halfback’s job was, he ran the team and he had this speed and style about him.

“And then Joey (Johns). What Joey did was, firstly he was more competitive than anyone else. Attack, kicking and defence. Joey tackled like a backrower, that’s why he stands out more than the others.”

But after naming his top five, host James Bracey and Johns were quick to point out the obvious rugby league great left out, that being Johnathan Thurston.

Johns added: “Do you see JT as a five-eighth?”

Quickly realising his mistake, Fittler explained he simply forgot, admitting that putting the list together was “too hard.”

“It’s too hard, I remember when I had five, I had to make it six to get Alfie and Sticky, I forgot all about JT,” Fittler added.

“JT, he just won. He was just a winner. What I found with JT, is he found it with his kicking. He did it in other ways, he could do it with goal kicking.

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“He had more big moments in goal kicking than I’ve seen with anyone else.

“Kicking field goals, also clutch plays – a couple in state of origin, he held his nerve. Instead of throwing the long pass which is easy to throw, he could draw a short pass under pressure better than anyone.”

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Andrew Johns’ top five halfback of all time:

5. Stacey Jones

“The great New Zealander player,” Johns said.

“I loved playing against Stacey, he was such a good player. He was quick and tough, probably one of the Kiwis’ best ever players.

Reminiscing on the career of Jones, Johns couldn’t help but reveal a story told to him by former Newcastle player Mark Hughes.

“When Jones went to France, he lived next door to my mate Mark Hughes,” he added.

“He (Hughes) used to tell me, most mornings the French kids used to run past singing songs on the way to school, ‘Stacey Jones, Stacey Jones has got a girl’s name.'”

4. Cooper Cronk

“Just programmed himself to be a halfback with repetition, over and over,” Johns said.

“He had those certain shapes with everyone around him on board. He was like the chemical, so hard to stop.”

3. Ricky Stuart

“Revolutionised the game with his kicking game, long kicking game and short kicking game,” Johns said.

“His passing and the combination with Laurie (Daley) and all these players. You go back to the early 90s, that was the best footy I had ever seen.”

2. Allan Langer

“He was just so hard to stop,” Johns said.

“Once again, the combination he had with Kevin Walters and Kerrod Walters, revolutionised the ways team played around the ruck with all the little trick shots around the middle of the field.”

1. Johnathan Thurston

A cheeky reminder to Fittler, Johns made it known, “I put JT in mine.”

“Anyone who’s got a statue must be pretty good.”

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