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NRL hall of fame rule change sees recently retired champions in line for immortal status

Briefly:

The NRL changed its hall of fame rules to allow players who retired three seasons ago to be immortalized.

Previously, players had to be retired for five years, with 13 immortals currently elected to the Hall of Fame.

What comes next?

The NRL will announce who the new Immortal is on August 21, with 25 other rugby league names added to the Hall of Fame.

Cameron Smith and Queensland’s era of State of Origin greats are in contention to be immortalized as soon as August under the NRL’s revised hall of fame rules.

The NRL has outlined plans to add a 14th immortal next month, as part of an expanded hall of fame that would be added to each year.

Previously, players had to be retired for at least five seasons to be considered for rugby league immortality.

However, revised rules announced Thursday have reduced that time out of the game to three seasons.

As part of the process, the NRL will announce 11 new men’s players, six women’s players, two coaches, two referees and four contributors to the Hall of Fame.

All members of the Hall of Fame, which currently has 110 players, will then be eligible to achieve immortal status at a ceremony on August 21.

Smith has been retired from rugby league for three and a half years after playing his last game for Melbourne in the 2020 grand final.

Billy Slater is also eligible after retiring in 2018, as is Johnathan Thurston, who retired the same year.

Cooper Cronk, who won six grand finals but is unlikely to be ahead of his Queensland teammates, is also eligible following his retirement in 2019.

Andrew Johns is the newest member of the Immortals group, which was added in 2012.

Mal Meninga and Norm Provan were drafted in 2018, along with three pre-war players in Dave Brown, Frank Burge and Dally Messenger.

Darren Lockyer, Brian Bevan, Duncan Hall, Ken Irvine and Ron Coote, among others, would miss out in 2018 and could still be considered.

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