Welcome to the first in a series of articles celebrating the greatest players to have worn the blue and white. What better place to start than at the top and the little champion who personified what rugby league and the Bulldogs are all about.
The first thing that strikes you about Terry Lamb when you meet him is his height. Forget the fact that his chest is as barrel shaped as every and the hardness in his torso apparent even to this day. What is so stunning is just how short he is. One hundred and sixty six centimetres to be exact.
In a game of huge men, thuggery and power, Lamb proved to one and all that rugby league was indeed a game played by all shapes and sizes.
As a young boy in Chester Hill, the game was not his sole focus and it wasn’t until another local boy asked him to join his team that Lamb began to fulfil his destiny and embrace the greatest game of all.
By the late seventies, Lamb was mired in the lower grades at the Bulldogs and began planning for a future in the workforce. He was cleverly scouted by the Magpies and offered money to play football. It was his fundamental reason for joining Western Suburbs and coach Roy Masters had indeed found a diamond in the rough.
Rumours of a furious Peter Moore lambasting his talent scouts for letting a local junior slip from under their grasp still pop up in Bulldog conversations to this very day. The ‘boss’ must have hated every single moment of the four years he watched Lamb excel with the Magpies and he was determined to have him back in the fold.
Lamb returned to the Bulldogs in 1984 as they stood at the doorstep of greatness. After a Dally M Medal in 1983, despite playing in a bottom of the table team at Wests, Lamb found himself under the tutelage of new coach Warren Ryan.
A period of greatness followed for the Club with Premierships in 1984, 1985 ,1988 and Lamb played a pivotal role in the success. Representative football was a natural byproduct of the dynasty and State of Origin selection was followed by a place on the 1986 Kangaroo Tour. Lamb represented his state eight times and his country on seven occasions.
The Bulldogs of the early nineties were a shadow of the team from the previous decade yet by 1993 a rebuild had unearthed a new batch of stars and Lamb had become the father figure to them all. As Captain, he set out on a mission and dragged those around him along for the ride.
The 1995 season includes some of the most stirring images of the Bulldogs that we will ever see. On the cusp of the Super League debacle that was to follow, the Club was divided and only a player meeting that brought about a consensus to put the distractions aside and concentrate on the performance of the team, resurrected their season.
After belting the Cowboys in the final home and away round, the Bulldogs toppled the Dragons, Broncos, Raiders and Eagles to claim the most unlikely Premiership from deep in the eight.
Lamb was inspirational and his masterclass of effort, leadership and support play throughout the finals should be used as an instructional video for all up and coming halves.
It was my Terry Lamb moment. The moment when your hero produced exactly what they should.
Much was made of his ability to back-up down the centre of the field, kick goals and score tries but Terry Lamb will always mean more to me than that. He was the toughest little bastard in the game and the man you wanted in the trenches with you before and during battle.