Anthony Mundine Rugby League return? Insane? He doesn’t think so. He said as much when he announced his intention to come back to rugby league.
Like his boxing, he has unfinished business in rugby league, and as ever he is talking up his chances with every belief he can do it.
And, he probably can. You have to admire his drive and wanting to achieve. He will be 42 soon, and will break the previous record of oldest of 40 years old, set four decades ago.
He says if he gets close to his speed from his younger rugby league days he’ll be capable of playing at the top, hopefully for the Dragons, and Mundine did have plenty of speed back in the day. But that was when the competition was played at a slower speed than today. But given he has had to train to be a full time boxer, he should still be pretty quick and fit.
Will he be tough enough to withstand a modern day NRL game? Well firstly, he’s a boxer, and despite accusations from some of having glass body parts, taking multiple punches should be tough enough training. And they don’t even punch anymore, something more similar to when boxers hold onto each other in the latter rounds to get a breather. So perfect. Secondly, he’s likely to be playing in the backs, so won’t have to do too much heavy lifting.
THE GURGLER’S ANTHONY MUNDINE RUGBY LEAGUE RETURN VERDICT
So do we think he’ll make it? Despite the 17 year break, the 42 years and the fact that it is probably just Mundine shooting his mouth off, we say he will make it. Whether it will be successful is another question. NRL could do with a little more personality, and Mundine would certainly bring that.
But no one was really asking for an Anthony Mundine rugby league return were they, and there have been so many players come and go in the 17 years since Mundine played rugby league.
If he is humble, a return that gets as far as the NSW Cup with Illawarra would actually be a fantastic achievement and one quite achievable if he were serious. If he was humble. Which he isn’t.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER FORMER NRL PLAYERS FOR A COMEBACK?
We’ve decided that if it is good enough for Mundine, then why not six more players that we really want to see return to rugby league of our choosing. Here then is our list of players we would like to see return to the NRL.
Stats and research courtesy of the Rugby League Project. Best place for rugby league stats on the net.
At 41 years of age, he is still younger than Anthony Mundine. He also only retired in 2012, so has been in the NRL more recently.
A rugby league hero not just for his glittering NRL career, but the fact that he went back and played for Fiji at the most recent rugby league World Cup and spent a couple of years playing in the Intrust Super Cup makes him someone we would like to see back in the NRL.
There has never been anyone better than Petero in the art of running straight at the Big H, and a return of the fine art would be most welcome.
Dell, as he is affectionately known, was a great character in the game, and was plenty entertaining on and off the field. He turns 43 this year, so would only be a year older than Mundine. Plus he has played more recently than “The Man”, having last turned out in 2009.
He scored 127 tries in 222 games, and represented Australia and Queensland. He has the same ability to talk himself up, but for some reason it just doesn’t annoy as badly as Mundine.
It would be a second rugby league comeback after he opted for rugby union for a while.
Not far off his 38th birthday, the Parramatta legend is the youngest of our requested comebacks so far.
A five time Dally M second rower of the year, the only accolade he seems to be remembered for, and caned on his TV shows is the lack of premiership. Although given Parramatta are due to win the comp next year following the two years after a scandal rule, his comeback to the Eels couldn’t be better timed.
One of the great survivors of rugby league, he played 349 NRL games and then another 128 UK Super League game, plus a shitload of representative game. He also scored 238 tries in that time. He last played in 2013, so wouldn’t need to much to get back into shape.
He is only 43, and still looks like he could do the job. And wouldn’t Rabs love a Menzies return. We won’t hear it though, as we say No to Channel Nein.
All of the above suggestions have been semi-serious and almost realistic, so regular readers of The Gurgler would be disappointed if a more out there or even preposterous suggestions wasn’t offered.
Whilst probably being too old to make an official comeback, if we could get our hands on a Futurama style time machine, we go back and get a Rowdy Shearer back in amongst the current crop of NRL players.
Not only for his tremendous Kicking Duel work, but there was a hardly a more electric player than the Queensland utility who scored 78 tries in 194 first grade matches and 12 each for Queensland and Australia.