A stack of players are in line to achieve big milestones and break long-standing records in 2015. We bring you the most significant and the most remarkable.
The veteran Melbourne fullback needs just two tries to break Ken Irvine’s record for most tries for one club. Team of the Century winger Irvine scored 171 tries for North Sydney before finishing his career with Manly. Slater requires 11 tries – which he has bettered in each of his last four seasons – to overtake Steve Menzies as the second-most prolific try-scorer of all time. He is 42 behind leader Irvine.
After becoming the top try-scorer in New Zealand Test history in 2014, ‘The Beast’ – with 135 tries in 195 games to his name – has several more opportunities to make an indelible mark on the record books this season.
- Six appearances will see him become just the third Warrior to play 200 first grade games.
- Vatuvei needs just six tries to overtake Nigel Vagana (the player he eclipsed for the Kiwis tryscoring record) as the most prolific overseas try-scorer in premiership history.
- If he can reach double figures in the try column yet again, he will become the first player in history to score 10 tries in 10 consecutive seasons. Vatuvei and the legendary Ken Irvine are the only players to register 10 tries in nine straight seasons.
- Vatuvei has the chance to equal Irvine’s record of topping his team’s try tally for the ninth season in a row.
- If Vatuvei maintains his average over the last decade of 13.5 tries per season, he will climb from 20th to 11th on the premiership’s all-time tryscoring register.
Front-row ironman Kite, who narrowly missed out on becoming the first player ever to make 20 first grade appearances in 13 consecutive seasons (injuries saw him play 19 games), could break into the top five for most appearances in premiership history. The Penrith prop, currently equal-15th on the all-time list, has played 307 games – 25 shy of fifth-placed Cliff Lyons. If Kite plays 24 games, he will overtake Nathan Hindmarsh to become the second-most capped forward after Steve Menzies.
All going to plan, Corey Parker will become the 21st player to reach 300 appearances in Round 1 and should comfortably break into the all-time top 10 by the end of the season. He will also become just the eighth play to achieve the feat with one club, and the second Bronco after Darren Lockyer. Others in sight of 300 NRL games are Anthony Watmough (286), Cameron Smith (284) and Willie Mason (272). Parker also needs only 110 points to overtake Lockyer as the Broncos’ leading all-time point-scorer.
Aside from being on the cusp of becoming the first Storm player to make 300 first grade appearances, Smith is climbing the ranks of the top point-scorers in history. The top pointscoring forward ever with 1653, Smith will move into eighth spot on the premiership’s all-time pointscoring register if he scores more than 140 points – and he has averaged 161 over the last nine seasons. The hallowed names of El Masri, Johns, Taylor, Halligan, Cronin, Eadie and Simms will be the only players that stand above Smith. The Queensland captain can also equal Darren Lockyer’s all-time Origin appearances record (36) if he plays all three matches of the 2015 series.
The deposed NSW halfback is poised to become the youngest player ever to reach the 200-game milestone. Pearce, who turns 26 in April, has played 182 games in eight seasons for the Roosters. He will also become just the sixth player to appear 200 times in the Tricolours.
The greatest Test and Origin point-scorer ever, JT needs just 105 points to overtake Ryan Girdler and break into the top 10 point-scorers of all time.
The quicksilver Manly custodian has scored 146 tries in 200 games, and needs just one four-pointer to break into the top 10 try-scorers of all time. If he maintains his career average of 13 tries per season, Stewart will finish the year in sixth. He also needs just six tries to overtake Steve Menzies as the Sea Eagles’ greatest-ever try-scorer.
The Golden Boot winner will move into second place on the Warriors’ all-time point-scorers register if he can post more than 135 points in 2015. Johnson is also only 48 points away from Matthew Ridge’s New Zealand Test record of 168 – he could conceivably overtake that this year with at least one Test against Australia and a three-match series in England coming up.
The Manly skipper needs 65 goals to become just the fourth player – after Ryan Girdler, Hazem El Masri and Luke Burt – to chalk up the 100-try, 500-goal career double.
Greg Bird and Greg Inglis
Greg Bird needs just five games to become the 18th player in history to make 100 appearances for two clubs (Cronulla and Gold Coast), while Greg Inglis will join that exclusive group with 18 more NRL appearances (Melbourne and South Sydney).
The flying Fijian requires three tries to become the first player to notch a century of touchdowns for Newcastle. Other players in sight of the 100-try milestone in first grade are Justin Hodges (96), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (95), David Simmons (94), Luke Lewis (94) and Josh Morris (89). Kenny-Dowall is aiming to become just the third Kiwi to reach the century mark.
The quiet front-row achiever is set to become the 10th player to make 200 appearances for Canberra, while if he plays 10 games he will overtake Chris O’Sullivan, former coach David Furner and current coach Ricky Stuart and climb into seventh on the Raiders’ all-time appearances list.
The embattled Cronulla skipper is nine games away from becoming the second Sharks player to reach 250 appearances. If Gallen plays all three Origin matches, he will join Rod Wishart as the fifth-most capped NSW player with 22 and (assuming he is retained as skipper) equal Brad Fittler in second place for most Origins as captain of the Blues with 14.
The Newcastle skipper is 21 games away from becoming just the second Knight to make 250 first grade appearances, while he is 28 games shy of Danny Buderus’ all-time record.
The Saints’ skipper needs just four more games to reach the 250-game mark in the Red V and is 27 behind record-holder Ben Hornby. The iconic Norm Provan is the only other player in St George history to play 250 games.
South Sydney Grand Final skipper Sutton bested Bob McCarthy’s long-standing Rabbitohs appearances record last season and will become the club’s first 250-game player if he features in 21 or more games in 2015.
The out-of-sorts Wests Tigers centre is nine tries away from breaking Benji Marshall’s club record of 76 career touchdowns.