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Morris clan crowned league's best family of modern era

The "slippery" customers Steve, Brett and Josh Morris have been voted the best rugby league family over the past 30 years.

In a narrow poll of more than 17,000 votes, the Morris clan edged out the Johns brothers - Andrew and Matthew - by 112 after each were locked on 25% of the overall vote from the shortlist of 10.

The Burgess boys - Sam, Tom, George and Luke - and the Walters family - Steve, Kerrod, Kevin and Billy - were also popular choices among the fans in the poll.

Steve "Slippery" Morris was a damn fine player in his own right, bagging 122 tries in 246 games and winning a premiership in 1979 at St George. Before he joined St George he played for both NSW and Australia while playing for the Dapto Canaries.

Some four decades later his twin boys are side by side at the Roosters and still going strong in their mid-30s. B-Moz and J-Moz as they are affectionately known have helped take the family tryscoring tally to a scarcely believable 432 and they’re not done yet.

NRL.com recently 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 on a range of topics on the modern era.

The game has seen some great families in its 112 years, brothers or father and son duos, as well as sisters and daughters in more recent times.

The growth of the women's game has enabled the likes of Ruan Sims and Ali Brigginshaw to add chapters to their family's rugby league tale.

In keeping with the Simply The Best theme of previous top 10s, to be eligible for this list, at least one member of the families needs to have played major roles in grand final wins or been a regular on the Origin and/or Test scene over the last 30 years so famous surnames such as Mortimer, Hughes and Anderson did not appear after the NRL.com newsroom put together its shortlist.

Such was the strength of these great families, names such as Grothe, Hindmarsh, and Young - who were all sons of guns making the representative arena over the past three decades - as well as the likes of the Iro, Bromwich and Geyer brothers.

Best families of the modern era

(names appear in alphabetical order)

The Burgess brothers and mother Julie.
The Burgess brothers and mother Julie. ©NRL Photos

Sam, Tom, George and Luke Burgess

Sam – he of 32 Test appearances and a key figure in South Sydney’s drought-breaking 2014 premiership – was the pick of the bunch but to have four brothers all play in same NRL match was something else. Twin brothers Thomas ad George are also veterans on the international stage, while older brother Luke enjoyed six years in the NRL.

Matt and Kurt Gidley

Matt was a brilliant attacking centre known for his ability to put those around him into open space, and often over the line. Kurt was the ultimate utility player, someone who made every team he was in better.

Knights royalty Kurt and Matt Gidley.
Knights royalty Kurt and Matt Gidley. ©NRL Photos

Both reached double figures in appearances for both NSW and Australia. Deservedly remembered as Newcastle legends.

Andrew and Matthew Johns

A pair of instinctive geniuses who drove each other to the absolute pinnacle, delivering Newcastle a coveted maiden premiership in 1997 and tasting World Cup glory together in 1995 at Wembley.

Andrew and Matthew Johns.
Andrew and Matthew Johns. ©NRL Photos

In 2012, Andrew was crowned the game’s eighth Immortal, ensuring the family name an exalted place in rugby league folklore. Matthew's sons Cooper and Jack are just kicking off their NRL careers at Melbourne and Souths respectively.

John and Martin Lang

John was a rugged hooker who shared the stage with Big Artie on Origin’s opening night in 1980 and played eight Tests for his country. Martin was a tearaway front-rower who played eight Origins and won a premiership at Penrith in 2003.

John and Martin Lang enjoy grand final glory.
John and Martin Lang enjoy grand final glory. ©NRL Photos

The Panthers coach that night was none other than dad John, who transformed a team that had run 12th the previous season and won just seven games into champions.

Steve, Brett and Josh Morris

Steve "Slippery" Morris was a damn fine player in his own right, bagging 122 tries in 246 games and winning a premiership in 1979 at St George. Before he joined St George he played for both NSW and Australia while playing for the Dapto Canaries.

Brett, Josh and Steve Morris.
Brett, Josh and Steve Morris. ©NRL Photos

Some four decades later his twin boys are side by side at the Roosters and still going strong in their mid-30s. B-Moz and J-Moz as they are affectionately known have helped take the family tryscoring tally to a scarcely believable 429 and they’re not done yet.

Wayne and Mitchell Pearce

As Mitchell closes in on his 300th NRL game, it’s worth reflecting on the contribution father and son have made to the game. Wayne "Junior" Pearce was a fitness fanatic who drove himself to relentlessly to achieve Kangaroos and Blues honours and is one of only three men to achieve an Origin series clean sweep as a player and a coach.

Wayne and Mitchell Pearce.
Wayne and Mitchell Pearce.

Mitchell burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2007 and has carved out a stellar career highlighted by a premiership at the Roosters in 2013 and an Origin series triumph in 2019.

Glenn and Brett Stewart

The Illawarra Steelers juniors joined Manly as teenagers and went on to become club greats. Were major contributors to premiership wins and along with the likes of Kieran Foran, Steve Matai and Anthony Watmough.

Brett and Glenn Stewart.
Brett and Glenn Stewart. ©NRL Photos

Glenn boasted a wide range of skills and a great feeling for the game, while Brett’s ability to inject himself into a backline play and make something happen instilled fear into every side he came up against.

Steve and Mat Rogers

Gifted and graceful, Steve "Sludge" Rogers was an absolute champion of his era who played 24 Tests and carried Cronulla into two grand finals in the 70s.

Steve and Mat Rogers.
Steve and Mat Rogers. ©NRL Photos

It was fitting then that goalkicking winger Mat would follow in his dad’s footsteps and debut with the Sharks as a 19-year-old in 1995. By the time he switched codes to the Wallabies, Mat had worn the Kangaroos jersey in 11 Tests and played five Origins for Queensland.

Jake and Tom Trbojevic

A pair of wonderful players with their best days probably still ahead of them. Both are mainstays for both NSW and Australia, with Jake’s tenacity and toughness contrasted by Tom’s attacking brilliance and tremendous athleticism.

So long as the Sea Eagles have this pair on their books, fans of the club will have plenty to smile about.

Steve, Kerrod and Kevin Walters

Queensland royalty. As well as playing starring roles in many an Origin series win, the Ipswich Jets products were key pillars in premiership wins for the Raiders (Steve) and Broncos (Kerrod and Kevin). Kevin has since gone on to coach the Maroons to series victories.

If not for Steve’s mortgage on the Maroons and Test jersey for several years, Kerrod’s rep resume would be more impressive.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.

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