34. Viv Thicknesse

Almost from the day Viv Thicknesse came across from representative rugby union to join Sydney's Eastern Suburbs in the 1931 season, he impressed as a leader.

By the time he retired in 1937, he had built a reputation for scrum-half play that has probably never been matched in his club's history.

Joe Pearce remembered how Thicknesse used to give his five-eighth ''half a yard start every time from a scrum win'', because of the style and quality of his pass.

In 1940, Dally Messenger told Truth, ''I would rate Viv Thicknesse probably with any half who has played''.

After one game in the reserves in 1931, Rugby League News compared Thicknesse to Chris McKivat, Pony Halloway and Duncan Thompson, writing that ''the smooth, sharp and accurate shooting of the ball from the scrum was exhilarating to say the least''.

He went to become a Kangaroo in 1933–34, toured with the Australian team to New Zealand in 1935, played in the first two Ashes Tests of 1936, and was a key figure in his club's domination of Sydney football in the mid-1930s.

Thicknesse's last game for Easts, before he retired for business reasons, came in the final premiership round of 1937, when he produced what many considered to be his greatest game in first grade.

''Viv is one of the best club men Easts have ever had, and one of the greatest players the district has produced'', wrote senior Tricolours official Johnny Quinlan at the end of that season.

''His loss on the playing field will be severely felt.''

Position: Halfback.

Club: Eastern Suburbs 1932–37.

Club landmarks: Won premierships with Easts 1935–36, 1937 (captain).

Games for NSW: 11 (1933–36).

Tests for Australia: Seven (1933–36).

Representative landmarks: Kangaroo tour 1933–34; Australian tour of New Zealand 1935.