98. Andrew Johns

Upon his retirement in 2007 due to a bulging disc in his neck, a chorus of league greats called for Andrew Johns to be immediately honoured as an immortal of the game.

In the preceding 13 years, the Cessnock junior had revolutionised the game like few others before him. His passing and kicking games became the benchmark for which all other halfbacks are judged.

On debut for Newcastle in 1994, Johns scored 23 points against Souths to win man-of-the match honours.

It heralded the start of a long-term partnership at the Knights alongside his brother and five-eighth Matthew.

In 1995, Andrew was picked for NSW and Australia, and the following year he took on Manly in the 1996 grand final despite sustaining fractured ribs and a punctured lung a fortnight earlier, and set up the match-winning try for Darren Albert with six seconds remaining.

Following the retirement of Paul Harragon in 1999, Johns took over the Knights captaincy and led them to a second premiership success in 2001, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the grand final against Parramatta.

The following year he was given the captaincy of NSW and Australia, producing a player-of-the-series display against Great Britain. Among a host of awards, he also won the Dally M Medal for an unprecedented third time.

Injuries sometimes hindered him from 2001, and the Knights' inability to win without him was a sign of his enormous influence.

In 2005, Johns returned to rescue NSW in Origin II and III. At 32, he ended his career as the highest scorer in Australian first-grade premiership history with 2176 points.

Position: Halfback.

Clubs: Newcastle 1993–2007; Warrington 2005.

Club landmarks: Won premierships with Newcastle 1997 and 2001 (as captain).

Games for NSW: 23 (1995–2005).

Tests for Australia: 21 (1995–2006) — two as captain.

World Cup matches: Five (1995–2000).

Representative landmarks: Kangaroo tour 2001; World Cups 1995, 2000.