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The NRL Match-Up: Top try-scorers

Posted: 4 July 2019 11:30 am
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We find the most lethal try-scorers in NRL history.

With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.

Finder's Thursday Night Football – St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Melbourne Storm, 7:50pm AEST, WIN Stadium

A try may have only been worth four points since 1983, but scoring them has always been the most important part of the game.

While no modern player is likely to match the historic try-scoring feats of Frank Burge and Ken Irvine, there are plenty who have staked their claim as the best in the NRL era.

The contenders

Billy Slater

The recently retired Storm star bowed out as the player with the most tries in the NRL era and the most ever by a fullback. His 191 tries in 323 matches for Melbourne also leaves him second only to Ken Irvine's all-time record of 212 career tries.

Despite hitting 20 tries in a season only once in his 16-year career, Slater was a constant attacking threat and helped shape the expectations of the modern fullback. His try-scoring exploits also extended to his international career, finishing as the top try-scorer at the 2008 World Cup and scoring in 10 of his 13 World Cup matches.

Nathan Blacklock

2004 NRL Round 19 - Sydney Roosters v St. George Illawarra Dragons, Allianz Stadium, 2004-07-17. Digital image by © NRL Photos

The Tingha Tornado scored tries at a whirlwind rate never seen in the NRL era, with 120 tries in only 137 games between 1998 and 2004.

Blacklock was the NRL's top try-scorer three years in a row between 1999 and 2001, a feat that has never been replicated. He also finished the 2001 season with 27 tries in 28 games, the most ever in a single NRL season, and became the first player to score 20 or more tries in 4 consecutive seasons.

Despite a brief stint in rugby union in 2003, he returned to the Dragons for the latter half of the NRL season, scoring a staggering 14 tries in 12 games. He moved to the English Super League in 2005, before a chronic knee injury forced him to retire the following year.

Steve Menzies

2007 NRL Round 18 - Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers, Brookvale Oval, 2007-07-13. Digital image by © NRL Photos

The Sea Eagles utility spent most of his early career in the second row and makes the list as the top try-scoring forward in rugby league history. He surpassed Immortal Frank Burge's record in 2004 and ended his career with 180 first-grade tries.

While a majority of his tries came for Manly in the ARL era, he also managed a try every 2.05 games across all levels of the game.

The verdict

Nathan Blacklock

A phenomenal winger, Blacklock's unrivalled try-scoring exploits have been somewhat overlooked in recent years. Despite his relatively short NRL career, he dominated the scoring charts in a way that no player has in half a century.

If it wasn't for injuries and moves abroad, it's safe to say Blacklock would have also been a chance at breaking Ken Irvine's all-time record.

Don't agree with our picks? Have your say below. Read all our Match-Ups here.


Images: NRL

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