POLL | Webb voted top fullback
Brent Webb has just edged out Wade McKinnon in voting for the fullback’s spot in the People's Choice 20th Anniversary Team.
Webb, who played 103 games for the Vodafone Warriors from 2002-2006, claimed 24 per cent of the votes while McKinnon, a 54-game Vodafone Warrior from 2008-2010, attracted 22 per cent.
Coming in third with 17 per cent was Ivan Cleary, the fifth highest points-scorer in the club’s history with 439 points in 53 games from 2000-2002.
While Cleary has returned to Australia to coach the Penrith Panthers, fellow Australians Webb and McKinnon are now both living in Auckland. Cairns-born and raised Webb, who represented the Kiwis from 2004-2008, has recently settled in the Queen City with his family after finishing his playing career with Leeds and Les Catalans in the English Super League.
Seven contenders spanning the club’s history were shortlisted for fullback in the People’s Choice 20th Anniversary Team.
While injuries limited his number of appearances to 37 in three seasons, former captain Matthew Ridge stood out for his courage, competitiveness and exceptional goal kicking.
In his Vodafone Warriors playing career Ivan Cleary underlined his standing as one of the most accomplished and calmest fullbacks (and a superb goal-kicker to boot) in the business culminating in the last game of his career – the 2002 grand final.
Brent Webb was a firm crowd favourite with his dazzling support play and pace, the vast majority of his 103 games and 39 tries for the club scored from fullback (during his time with the club he also made one-off starting appearances at hooker, centre and standoff).
He was succeeded by Wade McKinnon, one of the most explosive fullbacks the game has seen. His support play was also exceptional and, in any poll, his phenomenal try against Penrith in 2007 would rank among the best in the club’s history.
Lance Hohaia played a significant ratio of his 185 games for the club at fullback, helping the Vodafone Warriors to the 2011 NRL grand final and also filling the role for the Kiwis in their title-winning performances in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the 2010 Four Nations.
Taking over from him was the fleet-footed Kevin Locke, whose 89 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors were split between the wing and fullback. When he was at his best the diminutive Locke could light it up as well as any fullback.
Completing the list of principal contenders is the current custodian Sam Tomkins, who has brought silky skills to the position. He’s not only a try-scorer but also the creator of many more as he has shown with his ability to link up as an extra playmaker.
Cover Image | www.photosport.co.nz