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Kiwi legends contenders for NRL Hall of Fame

Vodafone Warriors legends Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki plus former Vodafone Warriors coach Mark Graham are among 25 nominees in contention for six positions in the NRL Hall of Fame to be announced in July.

The three Kiwi greats, all members of the New Zealand Rugby League's Team of the Century, join 22 Australian nominees including Cliff Lyons, Jack 'Bluey' Watkins, Petero Civoniceva and Ricky Stuart, with an independent screening committee whittling down a provisional list of more than 100 former rugby league players to just 25.

No New Zealanders are among the first 100 legendary players inducted into the Hall of Fame.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said all nominees were well-credentialled to be included in the final list for the announcement of the new Hall of Fame inductees in July.

"The players nominated collectively represent thousands of matches, hundreds of rugby league years and millions of memories for fans," Greenberg said.

"Their on-field performances live on today among the many passionate supporters who saw them play – and they will never be forgotten.

"All 25 are worthy nominees, given the roles they played in making rugby league such a great sport."

Senior manager of NRL Awards Frank Puletua said the 25 nominees would now go to a voting college of 25 judges, representing a cross-section of the game.

"The Voting College will select the players who they believe should be included among the best of the best as part of our Hall of Fame," Mr Puletua said.

"Every one of the nominees displayed excellence, persistence and sheer determination time and again during their playing career and each has a strong case to be included as a Hall of Fame inductee this year.

"Since the announcement earlier this year of the resurgence of the Hall of Fame and Immortals concepts, there has been passionate discussion among fans, coaches, players and commentators alike and I'm sure this will continue throughout years to come.

"The next step will be to announce and induct six new Hall of Fame members later this year, joining the 100 Hall of Fame members automatically inducted as part of the Game's Centenary year in 2008."

The six new Hall of Fame recipients will be announced in July, before being formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in August.

Up to two new Immortals will also be announced and inducted as part of a gala ceremony in August.

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