Fan votes determined our top 15 names of greatest Counties Manukau players of all-time. We passed those names to our panel of experts and this is how they rated them.
15. Sitiveni Sivivatu
One of a long list of outstanding Fijian born flyers that have made a home at Counties Manukau. Sitiveni Sivivatu was a try-scoring superstar from the moment he pulled on the Steelers’ colours and used that form to springboard him into the Chiefs and then the All Blacks.
In all, Sivivatu played only 20 matches for the Steelers but scored 24 tries across parts of three seasons with the Steelers.
He would then go on to play 89 matches for the Chiefs and 46 tests for the All Blacks, scoring 29 tries.
14. Hazel Tubic
Tubic, the current Counties Power Heat captain, grew up in rural Counties Manukau and bleeds red, white and black. The Te Kauwhata product started her representative career up the road in Auckland before joining the Heat in 2016, where she has been ever since.
The 30-year-old made her Black Ferns debut in 2011 and won a gold medal at the Women’s World Cup in 2017.
She has also played for the Black Ferns Sevens team since 2012 and took over the captaincy of the Heat this season.
13. Bob Lendrum
One of the stars of the brilliant 1970s-era Counties team. Lendrum was a gifted fullback that played 134 times for his beloved province and was part of the side that helped the Union secure its only Division 1 NPC crown in 1979.
He made his provincial debut in 1968 and played on until 1979. During that time he made his All Blacks debut in 1973, playing three games including one test match.
Lendrum was briefly the coach of the Steelers in 1995.
12. Mark Moore
Mark Moore was a mainstay of Counties sides throughout the 1980s, serving as the team’s energetic but tough halfback.
A stalwart of the Bombay club, Moore made his provincial debut for Counties in 1980, just after the province won the NPC 1st Division title. He would remain the primary halfback until 1988, racking up 109 games for the Union.
He produced one of the all-time great single game performances for Counties against North Auckland in 1986.
Moore has always been considered unlucky not to have made the All Blacks.
11. Tony Marsh
One of the unsung heroes of the 1990s Steelers team that made it to back-to-back NPC Division 1 finals. Marsh was a tough-as-teak and skilled second-five eighth or centre.
He made his provincial debut in 1994, alongside twin brother Glen, and became a fixture of the side that was more famous for try-scoring wingers Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri.
But much of their success was down to the work that Marsh provided inside.
He played 57 games for the Steelers, represented the Blues and Crusaders at Super Rugby before moving to France, where he played 21 tests in his adopted home from 2001-04.
10. Jim Coe
One of the all-time iconic figures of Counties Manukau Rugby, Jim Coe was a stalwart of the Steelers through the 1980s and 1990s.
The big lock forward made his debut in 1986 and was a regular in the Steelers until 1999, playing more games in the red, white and black jersey than any other player barring Waiuku clubmate Alan Dawson.
Coe got a taste of Super Rugby with the Blues in their glory years while he also represented Maori All Blacks.
Coe is currently the President of the CMRFU.
9. Rod Ketels
Ketels is the third most-capped player in Counties Manukau history having racked up 173 games from his debut in 1974 until 1987.
A prop forward that represented the Pukekohe club, Ketels formed an all-All Black front row alongside Andy Dalton and John Spiers at Counties that powered the province to the 1979 NPC 1st Division title.
Ketels made his All Blacks debut in 1978 and played 16 matches in the black jersey through a decorated career.
8. John Spiers
An uncompromising, tough and modest toiler that went about his business without any fuss and got results.
Having first played for the province in 1970, Spiers as a fixture of the Counties team until 1980, including winning the 1979 NPC title.
In addition Spiers played 28 matches, including five tests for the All Blacks between 1976 and 1981, and over 400 games for his beloved Pukekohe club.
7. Joeli Vidiri
A try-scoring superstar of the 1990s but in many ways the man who played second fiddle to the great Jonah Lomu but with a record every bit as impressive.
Vidiri burst onto the scene in 1994, when he played the first of 71 games for the Counties Manukau Steelers. He made the right wing position his own as the Steelers re-established themselves in the NPC 1st Division and then went on to make back-to-back finals in 1996 and 1997.
He scored 56 tries for the province and was a stand-out for the Blues as they won the first two editions of Super Rugby.
Vidiri played two test matches for the All Blacks in 1998.
6. Errol Brain
One of the provinces greatest leaders, Brain became a fixture of the Steelers during the 1980s and 1990s and played many of his 146 games as captain of the side.
He led the team to win promotion back to the 1st Division in 1993 before captaining the side to NPC runner-up finishes in 1996 and 1997 (missing the final due to injury).
The number eight made his provincial debut in 1988 and remained a core part of the team until his retirement in 1998 while he represented the New Zealand Maori throughout his career.
One of the best domestic players to never receive an international call-up, Brain did feature for the Blues and Chiefs in Super Rugby.
5. Andy Dalton
The captain of the Counties side that won the NPC 1st Division title in 1979, Dalton would go on to captain the All Blacks and appear at the inaugural World Cup in 1987, although he never took to the field due to injury.
Dalton made his provincial debut in 1975 and would do on to amass 123 games over the next decade.
He made his All Blacks debut, following in the footsteps of his father, in 1977 and became a regular, playing in 35 games up to 1985.
He coached Counties from 1989-1991 and would go on to become chief executive of both Auckland Rugby and the Blues after his playing days.
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