It’s been a long time coming for Gorden Tallis. Picture: Adam Head
It’s been a long time coming for Gorden Tallis. Picture: Adam Head

Tallis rewarded for the glory and pain

THE hardest moment of Gorden Tallis's career cannot be defined by just one game or one incident, but rather three years of pain.

The man who was dubbed "The Raging Bull" hung up his boots in 2004, forced into retirement due to continued problems with a neck injury he suffered in 2001.

Tallis believes he was never the same player following that injury.

But as the Broncos great prepares to be inducted into the NRL's Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, Tallis admits he is relieved that those final three years of his career and the constant pain he battled did not destroy his legacy as one of the greatest forwards to play the game.

The former Australian captain becomes easily embarrassed when he is celebrated for his impressive career.

However, he also knows it is a reward for everything he endured after he underwent fusion surgery on his neck in 2001 for an injury he suffered in a game against the Northern Eagles.

Doctors recommended he retire at the age of 28, but he bravely played on.

In the years that followed, Tallis says he was plagued by self-doubt and never reached the heights he believed he could have.

He hung up his boots at the end of the 2004 season at age 31. It was earlier than he would have liked.

Part of the Broncos’ triumphant 1997 side.
Part of the Broncos’ triumphant 1997 side.

"It cut my career short," Tallis said of the pain.

"Normally the longer you play, the better people think you are and the more attached they get to you. But in the last three years I wasn't the same player I was previously."

Tallis will become one of six players to join the illustrious Hall of Fame, chosen from an original list of 100 names.

He said it was recognition for how hard he worked over his career and also for those who helped him, including his family, coaches and teammates.

Tallis reveals he will need surgery in 2001. (David Sproule)
Tallis reveals he will need surgery in 2001. (David Sproule)

But for Tallis the induction also has extra meaning that proves to him he will be remembered for the blood, sweat and tears he poured into all of his 250 games for Australia, Queensland, the Broncos and the Dragons - not just those final three years.

"It's good to know you're remembered for your entire career," he said.

"It's not about how many games you play, but how good you play across that time.

"Artie Beetson played just one game for Queensland but it was the most important one in State of Origin history. It's the effort. That's what matters."

Tallis at his best was a devastating force.
Tallis at his best was a devastating force.

Tallis will be joined by fellow former Brisbane forward Petero Civoniceva, as well as Ricky Stuart, Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies and Mark Graham.

He is honoured to be included but also a "bit embarrassed" by the fuss that has been made.

His 14-year-old son Ethan has also helped keep him grounded.

"When I first got the call about it, my 14-year-old son walked into the lounge room," Tallis said.

"I hadn't told them about it yet so I said, 'Ethan, what do you think about your dad being in the Hall of Fame?'

"He just said 'yep' and kept walking.

"You don't really think about it until someone mentions it. (Tonight) it will be really cool and I'm looking forward to the night.

"I'm not usually one for awards nights. I'm not big on them, it's a bit embarrassing. But it's good to get recognised for how hard you've worked and what you've given the game.

"It's not just an award for yourself but your parents, coaches and everyone who's had something to do with your career."

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