Panthers Greatest Grand Final Team - Halfback

Who do you consider to be our greatest Grand Final halfback?

  • Greg Alexander
  • Craig Gower
  • Nathan Cleary

0 voters

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GREG ALEXANDER (1990 & 1991)

A local junior, playing the Australian Schoolboys side from Patrician Brothers Fairfield, he made his debut in 1984. He played 194 games over 11 seasons, including the 1990 & 1991 Grand Finals (1991 as captain). He scored 105 tries (including 1 in the 1990 Grand Final), kicked 335 goals (1 in 1990 Grand Final, 3 in 1991 Grand Final), and kicked 11 field goals (1 in the 1991 Grand Final).

In 1995 he moved to the Warriors, where he played 37 games over 2 seasons, scoring 11 tries & kicking 8 goals.

He returned to Penrith in 1997, playing 31 games over 3 seasons. He scored 8 tries, and kicked 8 goals & 3 field goals during his second stint with the club.

He represented City Origin 4 times, scoring 2 tries.

He was a member of the President’s in 1988, scoring 1 try.

He represented NSW 7 times (including 1 during Super League), scoring 1 try & kicking 2 goals.

He represented Australia 6 time’s, scoring 4 tries & kicking 10 goals.

He was the Dally M medallist in 1985.

CRAIG GOWER (2003)

A Colyton Colts junior, he made his debut in 1996, playing 238 games over 11 seasons, including the 2003 Grand Final. He scored 55 tries, and kicked 4 goals & 5 field goals.

In 2008 he moved to Aviron Bayonnais in French Rugby, playing 74 games over 4 seasons, scoring 7 tries, and kicking 9 goals & 4 field goals.

In 2012 he moved to London Broncos in the Super League, where he played 45 games over 2 seasons, scoring 7 tries & kicking 27 goals.

In 2013 he returned to the NRL, playing 6 games in his season for the Knights, scoring 1 try.

He represented City Origin 5 times.

He represented NSW 8 times (including Super League).

He represented Australia 23 times (including Super League), scoring 8 tries.

He represented Italy in Rugby Union 14 times, kicking 6 goals.

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NATHAN CLEARY (2020)

A Penrith Brothers junior, and Australian Schoolboys representative out of St Dominic’s. He made his debut in 2016, his 100th game was the 2020 Grand Final. He has scored 36 tries (including 1 in the 2020 Grand Final), kicked 329 goals (2 in the Grand Final), and 7 field goals.

He represented City Origin in 2017.

He has represented NSW 8 times, kicking 16 goals.

While many consider Brandy to be our greatest ever player, Gower & Cleary are right up the amongst our best.

I see Brandy & Cleary as very similar players, wth good game management & cool heads under pressure. If anyone is going to steal Brandy’s billing as our best ever, it will be Cleary, although I think he still has a way to go before he can claim that title.

Gower’s style was a bit different from traditional halfback, but he could still control and break a game open in his own way. He was unlucky not to be awarded the Dally M in 2003.

For me, it’s Brandy hands down at this stage. Not only for playing in the halves but also his versatility - making a pretty good fist at fullback. Gower comes second - also a good dummy half. Cleary may overtake them both at some stage, but it’s still early in his innings.

2 Likes

Two exceptionally good players. As for the other one (Alexander), beyond exceptional.

3 Likes

Well said, AlbertRoss.

Alexander is the best choice at halfback, IMHO, but all three would do us proud.

2 Likes

It was a head vs heart choice here for me.

I agree, Alexander was one of our most gifted players, and produced on the field in two grand finals.

I had to go for Gower though, if nothing more than his true grit and determination.

Ironic he won the grand final at half, when hooker arguably was his best position.

If we ran a competition post this one, selecting grand final players at any position, I’d have him at Hooker for sure (with no disrespect to Royce or Priddis).

With only 3 players in this field, this was tight, as will be lock.

As I said I can’t fault the majority going for Alexander though. He played like he had 360 degree vision and always seemed to be thinking three plays in advance.

Didn’t disappoint with his switch to fullback, although his game on the wing for Australia was less than memorable (apparently Lewis wouldn’t play if he was halfback or so the story went). Can only wonder what would have been if they’d picked Alexander at 5/8 next to Langer. Would of ended Wally’s career early I think.

1 Like

I remember watching Alexander with the ball in hand; when he started to run, you could almost see the opponents stress level start to rise. He didn’t run; he glided across the field.

2 Likes

This will probably be the only voting system in his life where Cleary will receive 0 votes :rofl:

1 Like
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