AlfWHO IS THE BEST ½ BACK: RICKY STUART OR ALLAN LANGER
Throughout their careers, Ricky Stuart and Allan Langer proved to be two of the greatest halfbacks to ever play the game.
Ricky Stuart debuted for the Canberra Raiders in 1988 after already having represented the Australian Wallabies in Rugby Union and was seemingly the final piece of a star-studded Raiders side the would dominate the late eighties and early nineties.
Allan Langer made his professional Rugby League debut for the Ipswich Jets in 1986, however made his NSWRL debut for the Brisbane Broncos also in 1988.
Looking at the win percentage across both player’s club career, Stuart had a win rate of 67.65% over 203 games during his time at the Raiders and 52.50% during his short stint at the Bulldogs where he played 40 matches.
Langer on the other hand had a win rate of 69.62% during his 240 games at the Broncos and 47.27% at the Warrington Wolves where he would play 55 games.
For the majority of the two players careers Langer has a better win ratio by just under 2%, yet in the heyday of their time in the game at other clubs Stuart has the superior win percentage.
Looking at their team accolades, both players have a formidable resume with Stuart being apart of all three Raiders premiership winning sides, while Langer won four premierships with the Broncos.
In the State of Origin arena, Ricky Stuart won four series’ whilst Allan Langer won seven.
On the International scene, for much of their careers Ricky Stuart and Allan Langer would be the top two options for the Australian number seven jersey and would win the honour over the other on a few occasions.
Stuart would wear the green and gold on nine occasions with Langer representing the Kangaroos on 24 occasions winning two World Cups in the process, a feat Ricky Stuart never achieved.
In the individual honours stakes, Queanbeyan native Stuart would win the Clive Churchill Medal in the 1990 Grand Final, the Dally M Halfback of the year award in 1990 and 1993, the Dally M and Rothmans Medal in 1993 and would receive induction into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2019.
Allan Langer would win the Clive Churchill Medal in the 1992 Grand Final, the Dally M Halfback of the year award in 1988, 1994 and 1996, the Dally M Medal in 1996 and would receive induction into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2008.
Today, Ricky Stuart is back at the Canberra Raiders as their head coach and has certainly experienced highs and lows at the club.
When returning to the Green Machine in 2014, the Raiders were going through a rough period that would continue until 2016, when Stuart took the club to their first finals series in four years, before leading them to their first Grand Final in 25 years when he took them to the big dance in 2019.
Langer on the other hand is a part of the training staff at his former club the Brisbane Broncos, who are currently in a rebuilding stage.
The 55-year-old is looking to play his part in the club’s road back to success.
Overall, you’d have to say Langer deserves the nod having won more premierships, more Origin series and having represented Australia over twice as many times as Stuart did.
Regardless, they are two of the greatest Rugby League players to have laced up a pair of boots and are both legends of the game.
If it went to a vote, Langer would by a country mile IMO.
The thing that stands out for me is Alfie was not a big player compared to the stocky Stuart. Both were short but Stuart was very solid.
I admire little players who are decent defenders as well as being known for their attacking prowess.
Other small gladiator half backs that come to mind are our very own Tommy and Mick Neil.
Who is the better ½ back
Stuart or Langer