True Blues Billy Smith, Brett Kenny and Glenn Lazarus have been unveiled as the latest inductees into the NSWRL The Star Hall of Fame during the annual True Blues dinner on Monday 31 May.
In a glittering ceremony in front of 470 guests at The Star Event Centre in Pyrmont, Lazarus, Kenny and Smith were inducted on a night which also saw the official presentation of the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues for Game One of the Ampol State of Origin series and tributes for late Hall of Famers Bob Fulton and Tommy Raudonikis.
“The annual True Blues dinner is always a highlight on the NSWRL calendar and it was a privilege to welcome Billy Smith, Brett Kenny and Glenn Lazarus as the latest inductees into the Hall of Fame,” NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis said.
“Each player was a champion in their own right and wore the sky blue jumper with distinction every time they took the field to play for their state.
“It was fitting that we also acknowledged the tremendous contributions that Bob Fulton and Tommy Raudonikis made to Rugby League and their loss is still being felt today.
“The Origin tradition will always endure and I’m confident the team that we have announced for this year’s series will give a good account of themselves against Queensland.”
Smith started his career as a centre before switching to halfback and his competitive spirit saw him win four consecutive premierships at the Dragons from 1963-66.
Smith played for NSW in interstate matches from 1964-73, including captaining the team in 1967, and never tasted defeat in a series.
Kenny was a gifted player and a big-match performer who played a key role in Parramatta capturing four premierships in the NSWRL competition in the 1980s.
In the 12 State of Origin games where he was selected as five-eighth, Kenny enjoyed an eight games to four winning advantage over Wally Lewis.
Lazarus was widely regarded as the world’s best prop in his prime and is the only player to have won three Grand Finals with three different clubs.
He was a tough-as-teak front rower whose tireless work rate laid the platform for his team’s success and he was part of the first NSW Blues teams that won three consecutive series from 1992-94.
The NSWRL The Star Hall of Fame inductees includes the seven Immortals who have represented NSW and 14 other players who represented their state with distinction.
The qualification for the NSWRL The Star Hall of Fame is:
a) The player must have played 10 games or more for NSW; or, alternatively, the player must have captained NSW; AND
b) The player must have also played for Australia: AND
c) The player must also have been retired for at least five seasons.
2021 NSWRL The Star Hall of Fame Inductees
Year inducted: 2021
True Blue number: 573
Born: July 12, 1942, Fremantle, Western Australia
Club: St George Dragons
Premiership career: (1963-77) 234 games, 30 tries, 3 goals, 161 points
First Grade debut: St George Dragons v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at the SCG on July 16, 1961
Representative honours: Australia 26 Tests (1964-70); NSW 17 interstate matches (1964-73)
Other honours: NSWRL Player of the Year 1967; Australia’s 100 Greatest Players 2008
Year inducted: 2021
True Blue/Origin number: 767/36
Born: March 16, 1961, Canterbury, NSW
Club: Parramatta Eels
Premiership career: (1980-93) 265 games, 100 tries, 410 points
First Grade debut: Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval, Sydney on June 15, 1980
Representative honours: Australia 17 Tests (1982-87); NSW 17 Origins (1982-87)
Other honours: Golden Boot Award 1985; Australia’s Greatest 100 Players 2008
Year inducted: 2021
True Blue number: 817/93
Born: December 11, 1965, Queanbeyan, NSW
Club/s: Canberra Raiders, Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm
Premiership career: (1987-99) 254 games; Canberra Raiders (1987-91), 92 games, 10 tries; Brisbane Broncos (1992-97), 118 games; 9 tries; Melbourne Storm (1998-99), 44 games, 2 tries
First Grade debut: Canberra Raiders v Western Suburbs Magpies at Orana Park, Campbelltown on July 26, 1987
Representative honours: Australia 21 Tests (1990-99); NSW 19 Origins (1989-94, 1996, 1998-99)
Other honours: NSW Team of the Century 2008; Australia’s Greatest 100 Players 2008