Rugby League Quotes

Rugby League is truly the greatest game of all. We’ve assembled a collection of the best rugby league quotes:

Rugby League Quotes:

“It’s like you’re running a marathon, at pace, while surviving about 20 or 40 small car crashes.” 

South Sydney Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe describes rugby league to an American audience.

“In south west Lancashire, babies don’t toddle, they side-step. Queuing women talk of ‘nipping round the blindside’. Rugby league provides our cultural adrenalin. It’s a physical manifestation of our rules of life, comradeship, honest endeavour, and a staunch, often ponderous allegiance to fair play.”

Academy Award Winning Screenwriter and lifelong rugby league fan Colin Welland describes the game as only he can.

“I loved Rugby League just as much as Football.”

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, whose childhood hero was Mal Meninga.

“The skill level is extraordinary and the highlights reel of a good rugby league game is as good as sporting entertainment as you can get from any sporting event in the world – it’s fantastic.”

Former Sydney Swans Chairman Richard Colless

“For me, it’s the hardest sport in the world. It takes dedication, discipline and mental strength. You accept constant physical punishment. You push your body right to the limit. It’s something that I’ve always been inspired by. It’s too tough for me. Deep down, I would love to be a rugby league player.”

2012 Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins

“I’d like to thank the game of rugby league – it gave me heroes when I was a boy and a chance to become one myself. It’s given me opportunity, security, friendship and values. For this, I am forever in debt to our game.”

Melbourne Storm legend Billy Slater

Rugby League vs Rugby Union Quotes:

“I’m 49, I’ve had a brain haemorrhage and a triple bypass and I could still go out and play a reasonable game of rugby union. But I wouldn’t last 30 seconds in rugby league.” 

Former New Zealand rugby league coach Graham Lowe talks about the differences between rugby league and rugby union.

“[Rugby] League is much, much more physical than Union – and that’s before anyone starts breaking the rules!”

Former Welsh Rugby League / Union Winger Adrian Hadley

“It’s the first time I’ve been cold for seven years. I was never cold playing Rugby League.” 

Dual International Jonathan Davies describes his return to Rugby Union.

“I’ve played for the Wallabies in a World Cup final, the Maroons and the Kangaroos and I have absolutely no doubt that Origin football is the toughest you’ll play in either code.” 

Former Australian Wallaby and Kangaroo Mat Rogers.

“Without a doubt, rugby league was the most physically demanding sport – and that’s statistically speaking, without the need for argument.”

Dual Welsh international Gareth Thomas

Rugby League Toughness Quotes

“It wasn’t about trying to be a hero. It was just something that had to be done. It was a grand final and nothing was going to stop me.”

One of South Sydney‘s Greatest Players John Sattler reflects on his incredibly courageous grand final performance. Sattler broke his jaw in three places, but bravely played on to help South Sydney to victory in the 1970 Grand Final.

“I’ve had 12 broken noses, two broken jaws, five broken arms, four rib cartilages, four broken ribs…”

Former Great Britain prop Cliff Watson recalls his injuries in rugby league.

Quotes About Great Rugby League Players

“The bloke had been my idol for the better part of a decade, so I was keen to make a good impression.  Locky took a long cut out pass on his chest.  Just before he took off, he glanced up and looked straight at my eyes.  I reckon I would have resembled a baby deer caught in the headlights.  In ’03, Locky was probably the pre-eminent athlete in the game, so I decided against rushing him and simply allowed him to use his fancy footwork to make me look like a fool.  I don’t know what I was thinking, holding my distance, almost inviting him to come to me.  Locky could hardly believe his luck.  He just went ‘bang’ and took off towards the touchline.  Without slowing even a little, he straightened and was past me, on his way to the tryline before I knew what had happened. I had never had anyone do that to me…not even in under eights mod league”

Cameron Smith recalls his first encounter with the great Darren Lockyer

“Churchill was the greatest all-round champion the Rugby League code has known.”

Henry Jersey Flegg on Rugby League Immortal Clive Churchill

“I remember one game when he had to retrieve the ball in-goal from a kick with four opposition players chasing him across the line. Churchill scooped up the ball and, just when they were about to tackle him in-goal, he wrapped one arm around a goal-post and swung around it full circle. The chasers were so mesmerised by the event that they just stood there with their mouths open while Churchill charged back up-field.”

Bernie Purcell recalls his favourite Clive Churchill moment.

“[In one game, Parramatta] scored five tries, Sterling scored three and he put the other two directly on… it was like one person playing thirteen others. He could be that dominant.”

Supercoach Jack Gibson talks about one of rugby league’s greatest halfbacks Peter Sterling.

“I’ve never seen his equal.”

Magpies star Keith Holman talking about the greatest French player of all time, Puig Aubert.

“Eric would get to training and stand on the halfway line and Clive Churchill would stand under the posts… Eric would practise field goals from halfway, one after the other, for half an hour. Bang, bang, bang, straight over. He hardly ever missed.”

South Sydney and Eastern Suburbs legend Ron Coote remembers one of rugby league’s greatest goalkickers Eric Simms

“I probably rated Steve Rogers in the era that I played in as the most complete player there was.”

Former Dragons’ great Rod Reddy is full of praise for Cronulla Sharks legend Steve Rogers

“I rate him the greatest all-round centre three-quarter I have seen.”

British legend Tommy Bishop remembers the great Steve Rogers

“I have been privileged to be born in an era which produced Brian Bevan.”

Former Warrington club president Clarrie Owen

“Brian Bevan was the greatest I ever played against. He was a real gentleman. No-one will ever near his record.”

English hero Billy Boston is full of admiration for one of rugby league’s greatest wingers Brian Bevan

“A giant of a man who, as skipper of Australia, terrorised British defences in the centre.”

Legendary rugby league commentator Ray French on Kangaroos’ great Mal Meninga.

“When Clay was on the left the inclination was to detour right”

Jack Gibson reflecting on the defensive prowess of St George Dragons legend Brian ‘Poppa’ Clay

“He was a special player, one who always played to the very limit of his ability. He was tough, he was competitive, he could defend as well as attack. He was good at everything he did. I’d have no hesitation in putting him in my top five players ever.”

Rugby League Commentator Rex Mossop on the Immortal Bob Fulton

“When Johnny Raper was born, they not only destroyed the mould, they pulped it.”

Legendary Rugby League Caller Frank Hyde on Johnny Raper.

“Sam Burgess is the best player I’ve played with, bar none.”

Jamie Peacock on English teammate Sam Burgess

“There’s only been a handful of players who’ve inspired me and [Paul Wellens] is one of them”

Great Britain International, Leon Pryce, on teammate Paul Wellens

“In my opinion, Thurston is better than ‘Joey’ (Andrew Johns)… ‘JT’ will be an Immortal of the game. He is just the complete player.”

Matthew Johns declares Johnathan Thurston better than his brother

“Wally Lewis was a magnificent player at Origin level but Locky [Darren Lockyer] has gone past ‘The King’ for mine… Darren is just a great footballer and when the next Immortal is announced, he should be the next one. He’s broken all the records, he’s playing great football and most importantly he’s a great ambassador for the game… He’s already gone ahead of Andrew Johns, don’t worry about that… We’ve had some great footballers, guys like Graeme Langlands, Reg Gasnier and Wally Lewis. He’s as good as any of the Immortals.”

Tom Raudonikis lauds the great Darren Lockyer

“There was no better player than Harry Wells.”

Team of the Century member Noel Kelly recalls the brilliance of Harry Wells.

“He is the greatest fullback that I’ve ever seen”

Laurie Daley talks about Billy Slater during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

“I haven’t seen a better fullback than Billy Slater and, while I haven’t seen all the fullbacks, I’ve seen a lot of good ones and played with a couple of real good ones. I rate Billy up there, right at the top – and with a bit of a gap between first and second, to be honest. He has been that influential as a fullback – he has basically changed the way fullbacks play – but the big thing for me is how consistent he has been for such a long time.”

Craig Bellamy reflects on Billy Slater‘s wonderful rugby league career

“He’s the greatest footballer I’ve ever seen”

Phil Gould reflects on the career of Johnathan Thurston (The Footy Show, 20/09/2018)

Quotes About Great Rugby League Coaches

“There’s no harder working coach… he is the most professional guy… He’d hand me a tip sheet and he’d say ‘this is what will work for you today’ and nine times out of ten it worked – and the time it didn’t it was because I didn’t do it properly.”

Gorden Tallis on Craig Bellamy

International Rugby League Quotes

“State of Origin is huge, don’t get me wrong. We love playing State of Origin, there is so much hype around it, there is so much talk around it, a lot of people watch it, but for me… the most revered jersey in our sport is this one right here.”

Cam Smith on playing for the Australian Kangaroos

“I was like a bull – you wave a red flag in front of a bull and it goes mental. You wave an Aussie jersey in front of me and I’m going to do the same thing.”

Olsen Filipaina on playing against the Kangaroos.

“We put in a lot of hard work and made a lot of sacrifices… We knew we could do something special.”

Former New Zealand captain Nathan Cayless on winning the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

“There’s nothing like playing for Samoa. You’re not just playing for yourself but for your family and your culture.”

Joey Leilua talks about his experience playing for Toa Samoa

“Rugby league is kind of like a religion over there, people praise it, they are so passionate and every time the team bus drives past… people get out of their seats and jump up and down.”

Papua New Guinea Kumuls captain David Mead describes rugby league in PNG.

“…at the end of the day we are playing for our people and the love of the game…”

Fiji Bati captain Kevin Naiqama

We’re not representing ourselves. We’re representing our families and our heritage”

Michael Jennings on playing for Tonga

Funny Rugby League Quotes

“I’ve been sent off so many times that when I am in the front yard doing the gardening and the postie goes by and blows his whistle, I just get up and go and have a shower”

Noel ‘Ned’ Kelly had ‘colourful’ career, to say the least


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