Player poll: Inspiration of players past
As we celebrate Men of League Heritage Round this weekend we asked the game's current stars to cast their minds back to the players of the past who captured their imagination.
Chris McQueen (Titans)
Obviously being a Queenslander I loved watching Gorden Tallis play. He always played hard, he always ripped in, Broncos legend, Queensland legend, Australia legend, easy. I got to work with him at Souths and now he's an ambassador at the Titans and I get along well with him and have a fair bit to do with him. I remember the first time I met him I was pretty star struck.
Sam Moa (Roosters)
Shane Webcke. I loved him as a front-rower because he was a no-nonsense sort of player and would do all the tough carries. Ruben Wiki was my other favourite player growing up. He was a pretty imposing dude, but from what I've heard, he's a lovely man. Every time I've been in the New Zealand camp, he hasn't been involved, which is a shame.
Sam Lisone (Warriors)
Ali Lauitiiti and Stacey Jones for sure. Stacey with his banana kicks to the corner and Ali with his offloads, and the way he would handle the ball like a basketball. They were the players I used to love to watch and who used to capture my imagination.
Kurt Mann (Dragons)
I had two players who I really enjoyed watching. Darren Lockyer was one of them. Every young kid who grew up in Queensland when he was playing, idolised him. Matty Bowen was the other one for me. I went for the Cowboys because I grew up around that area and he was an excitement machine. I really enjoyed watching those two play.
Jacob Lillyman (Warriors)
As a kid growing up my hero was always Allan Langer, I just idolised him. But it's been funny because later on I met him in State of Origin and have had a bit to do with him, and realised the type of bloke he is and how bloody hilarious he is. But it was always him, he was my hero growing up.
Zeb Taia (Titans)
When I was real young I used to love watching Gorden Tallis play when he was starting out. I didn't know he was a Queenslander until he went to play for the Broncos. As I got older I started idolising guys like Tony Puletua and Joe Galuvao when they were at the Panthers. They came from similar backgrounds to me and played in the same position so I used to love going out to Penrith Park to watch them play.
Jack de Belin (Dragons)
He's a current teammate now actually, Benji Marshall. I grew up supporting the Tigers obviously because my pop (Fred) played for them and I still remember when they won the grand final in 2005 and Benji did his flick pass [to Pat Richards]. That was a highlight for me growing up. I just remember us fellas at school – we were 12 I think – trying to flick pass like Benji. I'm not blowing smoke either, that's actually a true story. Benji was probably my idol.
Dylan Napa (Roosters)
Sonny Bill Williams. Everything about him was cool. He could do everything. I debuted with him back in 2013 so it was pretty special to pack down in a scrum with one of my idols. It's something I won't forget.