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Simply The Best: Prop poll down to final four candidates

It's said playing prop is the hardest job in rugby league, repeatedly meeting the defence head-on in a bid to give your team the ascendancy.

A front-rower who can take gruntwork to the next level can be a deciding factor for premiership-winning sides. Which two props have been the best of the past 30 years? launched the search for the Simply The Best players from 1990 to now to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Tina Turner promotional campaign, which was again featured in this year's advertisement for the Telstra Premiership, and is calling on the fans to have their say.

You can no longer vote via the poll in this article – we have trimmed the 10 candidates down to the four front-runners with polls on the official NRL Instagram and Facebook accounts deciding once and for all which two props are Simply The Best.

The newsroom has narrowed the race to be the best front-rower to a shortlist of 10.

In a packed field several star big men couldn't find their way into the shortlist, including the likes of Kiwis greats Nathan Cayless and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, ex-Dragons duo Luke Bailey and Jason Ryles, Broncos stalwart Andrew Gee and former Sharks big boppers Martin Lang and Jason Stevens.

Simply The Best front-rower nominees

(in alphabetical order)

Bromwich does it all himself

Jesse Bromwich 

A crucial cog in Melbourne's decade of dominance in the 2010s, Bromwich has played in two premiership-winning and four minor premiership-winning sides at the Storm while playing 29 Tests for New Zealand. The prototype modern prop who boasts size, power, a big engine and an offloading game, Bromwich was named Kiwis captain in 2016 – also going on to win the Dally M Prop of the Year and Kiwis Player of the Year awards that season.

The best of Burgess

Sam Burgess

A player whose arrival at Souths helped turn the Rabbitohs into a premiership contender for the first time in decades, Burgess was the RLIF Prop of the Year in 2013 and won the Clive Churchill Medal for the Bunnies a year later after producing an inspirational grand final performance despite suffering a fractured cheekbone in the early minutes. He also played 22 Tests for England and another two for Great Britain in 2007.

NSW prop Mark Carroll during the 1995 State of Origin series.
NSW prop Mark Carroll during the 1995 State of Origin series. ©NRL Photos

Mark Carroll

Carroll was a legendary enforcer for Penrith, Souths and Manly across an 11-year career, forging a fierce rivalry with Knights skipper Paul Harragon – before playing alongside him at State of Origin and Test level. He was a key force in the Manly side that played in three straight grand finals between 1995 and 1997.

Petero Civoniceva is chaired from the field after his last Origin in 2012.
Petero Civoniceva is chaired from the field after his last Origin in 2012. ©NRL Photos

Petero Civoniceva

A colossal figure for the Broncos, Queensland, Australia and Fiji rugby league, Civoniceva played 15 seasons at the top level with 33 Origin appearances and 51 Tests (45 for the Kangaroos and six for Fiji). In 2012 he became the oldest ever State of Origin player, at the age of 36. The 2008 Dally M Prop of the Year, Civoniceva won three premierships with Brisbane and was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2019.

GF glory: Fifita breaks the Storm wall

Andrew Fifita

Fifita started his career at the Wests Tigers but made his name at Cronulla, starring in the club's drought-ending grand final victory in 2016 and scoring the match-winning try. Renowned for his tackle-busting and offloading ability, Fifita has played 10 State of Origin matches and 17 internationals (seven for Australia and 10 for Tonga) and is a two-time Dally M Prop of the Year.

Origin Moments - Paul Harragon

Paul Harragon

A towering firebrand who led from the front in 20 Origins for NSW and 14 Tests for Australia, "The Chief" was a foundation member and later captain of the Newcastle Knights. He was the Dally M Prop of the Year in 1996 and led the Knights to their first premiership a year later in a memorable grand final up against old rivals Mark Carroll and the Manly Sea Eagles.

95. Glenn Lazarus - Hall of Fame

Glenn Lazarus

One of the most successful front-rowers in history, Lazarus won premierships with Canberra in 1989 and 1990, with the Broncos in 1992 and '93, and with Melbourne – as captain – in 1999. The Hall of Famer is the only player to have won grand finals at three clubs (including the first premierships for all three), and was a stalwart at rep level with 22 games each for Australia and NSW.

Ian Roberts during his last year at Manly in 1995.
Ian Roberts during his last year at Manly in 1995. ©NRL Photos

Ian Roberts

One of the most fearsome forwards in the 1990s, Roberts was a standout performer early in his career at Souths and then partnered with Glenn Lazarus for NSW and Australia to dominate opposing packs during his impressive club stint with Manly. He finished at North Queensland after signing with Super League, retiring in 1998 with 194 first-grade games, 11 appearances for NSW and 13 Tests for Australia. 

Cowboys prop Matt Scott.
Cowboys prop Matt Scott. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Matt Scott

Scott wasn't the biggest, fastest or most creative prop of his time but at his peak he was the best, an old-fashioned metre-eater who played 22 Tests and 22 Origins for Queensland and helped lead the Cowboys to their first premiership. Scott earned Dally M gongs for prop of the year (in 2011) and captain of the year (in 2015) and was a one-club player across a 16-year career at North Queensland.

99. Shane Webcke - Hall of Fame

Shane Webcke

A one-club player over a dozen years at Brisbane, Webcke won four premierships with the Broncos and was named Dally M Prop of the Year in three straight seasons from 2000 to 2002. He represented Queensland 24 times and Australia 26 times, and was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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