Who will topple El Masri’s mark?

EXPERTS say it’s likely Hazem El Masri will still be on top of the NRL’s all-time point-scoring list when he’s sitting in his recliner with his feet up watching rugby league with his grandchildren.<br><br>Although the all-time point-scoring record has changed hands fairly frequently in recent times, El Masri’s new mark, achieved by overtaking Andrew Johns last weekend, is set to endure for a long time indeed, leaving the likeable Bulldog at the forefront of the code’s history well past his eventual retirement.<br><br>In the past nine seasons the record for most career points has been broken four times. Daryl Halligan surpassed Michael Cronin in 2000, only to be usurped by Jason Taylor the following year. Then in 2006 Johns stole the limelight from the current South Sydney coach before El Masri took the crown against the Sea Eagles last Saturday night.<br><br>But with the nearest active challengers being the 31-year-old Craig Fitzgibbon and the 30-year-old Matt Orford, it is estimated El Masri will hold top spot for at least another 10 years.<br><br>“It will be broken at some stage but I think it might be when Hazem is a grandad,” former record-holder and team-mate Halligan tells NRL.com. <br><br>“I can’t see it being broken for quite some time. The closest is Craig Fitzgibbon and while his 1500-plus points are phenomenal for a forward, he obviously won’t be around to catch Hazem.”<br><br>Halligan, who ironically managed to keep El Masri off the record books for a few years due to the fact he was kicking goals in El Masri’s first few seasons, believes the days of 300-game players are dying out, making the current feat one that will be near impossible to catch.<br><br>“It will take at least another 10-12 seasons before anyone current has a chance. Those guys in the middle of their careers like Luke Burt and Cameron Smith probably won’t have the longevity to go past wherever Hazem ends up,” he says. <br><br>“We’re in an era where players don’t generally have the longevity in the game. Sure there are some survivors but there are less and less of them every year, so it’s highly unlikely.”<br><br>Fitzgibbon would need to play this season and four more to have a chance of catching El Masri.<br><br>The Bulldogs winger now sits on 2184 points from 292 games with at the very least this season to add to his tally. Having averaged just a smidgin under 7.5 points a match over his career, he could finish on around 2357 points if he pulls stumps at season’s end (assuming he plays every game and the Bulldogs don’t qualify for the finals) or even crack the 2500 mark if he goes another year. <br><br>Using El Masri’s current mark of 2184 as a target for all NRL goal kickers, the most realistic chance of catching the Bulldogs wizard would be Shark Luke Covell – and that’s only if he plays seven more injury-free seasons to the age of 34!<br><br>Covell averages 7.8 points a game but with just 912 points on the board at age 27 he’s at very long odds.<br><br>Eel Luke Burt (also 27) could sneak in if he plays to 33 or 34, as he averages around 6.6 points a game and has 1129 points to date. <br><br>Superstar 25-year-olds Johnathan Thurston (4.8 points a game) and Cameron Smith (5.2) are a chance of upping their averages over the next eight seasons (they’d need to play that long to have any chance) but even if they push it up to seven points a match they’d need to play over 200 more games. Smith has been pretty solid so far but Thurston hasn’t had the best injury record. <br><br>That leaves us with the kids.<br><br>South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow is just 20 but has averaged just 4.5 points a game in his short career. At that rate it would take over 450 more games just to get to El Masri’s current mark. If he could up his average to El Masri standards he is still looking at 300 more games in the NRL, something that would take around 12 or 13 full seasons. <br><br>Warrior Denan Kemp is another possibility, having taken over the goal kicking duties at his new club. Kemp, at just 21, is an accomplished try scorer which could boost his averages quite quickly. Already it is nearly four points a game from 29 appearances – despite the fact he only kicked goals for the second time in his career last weekend.<br><br>“You don’t play for over 10 seasons and score over 2000 points without having some ability to play the game,” Halligan says.<br><br>“It’s a real credit to Hazem as he practised very hard at the beginning of his career and it set him in good stead. There should be a huge sense of pride to have such a significant personal milestone in amongst a team sport and by the looks of things he can revere in it for a long time.”<br><br><b>TOP 10 CURRENT PLAYERS</b><table border="1" width="200"> <tbody><tr> <th scope="col">Rank</th> <th scope="col">Player</th> <th scope="col">Team</th> <th scope="col">Games</th> <th scope="col">Tries</th> <th scope="col">Goals</th> <th scope="col">FG</th> <th scope="col">Pts</th> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>Hazem El Masri</td> <td>Bulldogs</td> <td>292</td> <td>145</td> <td>802</td> <td>-</td> <td>2184</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Craig Fitzgibbon</td> <td>Roosters</td> <td>242</td> <td>39</td> <td>673</td> <td>-</td> <td>1502</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>Matt Orford</td> <td>Manly</td> <td>205</td> <td>70</td> <td>541</td> <td>9</td> <td>1371</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Mat Rogers</td> <td>Titans</td> <td>160</td> <td>91</td> <td>443</td> <td>-</td> <td>1250</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>Darren Lockyer</td> <td>Broncos</td> <td>293</td> <td>111</td> <td>341</td> <td>17</td> <td>1143</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>Luke Burt</td> <td>Eels</td> <td>171</td> <td>85</td> <td>394</td> <td>1</td> <td>1129</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>Luke Covell</td> <td>Sharks</td> <td>117</td> <td>49</td> <td>358</td> <td>-</td> <td>912</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>Preston Campbell</td> <td>Titans</td> <td>204</td> <td>77</td> <td>263</td> <td>1</td> <td>837</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9</td> <td>Cameron Smith</td> <td>Storm</td> <td>145</td> <td>24</td> <td>327</td> <td>-</td> <td>750</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10</td> <td>Brett Kimmorley </td> <td>Bulldogs</td> <td>262</td> <td>74</td> <td>195</td> <td>8</td> <td>694</td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p>* Stats: NRL Stats</p>