45. Keith Holman

Keith Holman's childhood on the tough streets of La Perouse served him well for his future as one of rugby league's greatest halfbacks.

Born in Ballarat, Holman was orphaned as a young child and raised by a Sydney couple. He attended De La Salle College at Surry Hills where a classmate was Bernie Purcell, later a teammate for Australia.

He trialled for a contract with South Sydney as a teenager but was told to ''go home and grow''.

He was also unsuccessful at Manly, so he headed to Dubbo and befriended former Wests five-eighth Eric Bennett.

With Bennett's help, he landed a contract with the Magpies in 1948 and quickly rose through the ranks. By 1950 he was a Test player, figuring prominently in Australia's first Ashes conquest in 30 years.

Holman was a regular in the Test side until 1958. When his playing days were over he turned to refereeing and later coaching, both with success.

His only regret was never playing in a premiership-winning team at club level. He missed Wests' premiership victory in 1952 because of that year's Kangaroo tour.

Position: Halfback.

Club: Western Suburbs 1948–61.

Club landmarks: Won premierships with Wests 1948, 1952.

Games for NSW: 33 (1950–55).

Tests for Australia: 32 (1950–58).

World Cup matches: Three (1954–57).

Representative landmarks: Kangaroo tours 1952–53, 1956–57; World Cups 1954, 1957; Australia tour of New Zealand 1953.