46. Ken Kearney

Of all the men who helped build the legend of the St George Dragons, it is doubtful if any imposed a greater influence than Ken ''Killer'' Kearney.

Long-time Saints secretary Frank Facer described Kearney as ''a truly great leader'', while team-mate Billy Wilson stated, ''He must get a great deal of credit for setting up the pattern of success''.

Kearney was a giant figure in the St George story, the brains behind the outfit that won an incredible 11 consecutive premierships from 1956 to 1966.

His career began in the ranks of the Parramatta rugby union club in the early 1940s. He played first grade at 17 but no sooner had he announced his arrival than the war intervened and Kearney was headed to Europe with the RAAF.

Returning to Australia, Kearney played for NSW in 1946 and a year later was chosen to tour England, Ireland, France and Canada with the Wallabies.

It was a valuable learning experience, but at 23, Kearney needed to consider his future and at the end of the tour joined Leeds rugby league club on a £2000 sign-up.

For three years he absorbed vast knowledge by playing against and watching legendary scrummagers like Joe Egan and Ken Gee and returned to Australia in 1952 brimful of ideas.

He captained the Dragons to a premiership victory in 1956 and then as captain-coach steered them to another five titles in the following five seasons.

Position: Hooker.

Clubs: Leeds 1948–51; St George 1952–61.

Club landmarks: Won premierships with St George 1956–61.

Games for NSW: 25 (1953–58).

Tests for Australia: 25 (1952–58) — nine as captain.

World Cup matches: Six (1954–57).

Representative landmarks: Kangaroo tours 1952–53, 1956–57 (captain); World Cup 1954; Australian tour of New Zealand 1953.