Wally Lewis opens up about the love-hate relationship he has with his ‘King’ monicker

Jun 21, 2023
While the nickname added to his status as a legend of the game, Lewis revealed that he never cared too much for the title. Source: Getty Images.

Rugby league icon Wally Lewis has shared insights into the origins of his legendary title ‘The King’, openly admitting his personal disapproval of the nickname.

Lewis spoke of the monicker’s origins for the documentary, Wally Lewis — The King which aired on Tuesday, June 20

“I’m pretty sure, now there’s been some argument about it, but I’m pretty sure it was given to me by Ray Price,” Lewis said on Nine’s upcoming documentary ‘The King’,” Lewis explained.

“Here we were playing in 1984, we had a pretty hot side the Queenslanders in that era, and we thrashed NSW.

“I remember the journos all hunted Ray, unfortunately, at the end of the press conference and said, ‘Ray, just one question we want to ask you. You’re saying you should be Australian captain, what about Wally? He led the Queenslanders, he got man of the match for this game, what do you think about that?’.

“He said, ‘Aw yeah, give him everything, fair dinkum he’s everything up here anyway, he thinks he’s the King’.”

While the nickname added to his status as a legend of the game, Lewis revealed that he never cared too much for the title.

“All of my mates from that day forward said, ‘King, King, what’s happening King?’, and I absolutely despised the name and every time they said it to me, I used to blow up,” he said.

During his sporting career, Lewis made a name for himself as one of the greatest ever players of rugby league.

Lewis represented Queensland in thirty-one State of Origin games from 1980 to 1991, and was captain for thirty of them.

He also represented Australia in thirty-three international matches from 1981 to 1991 and was national team captain from 1984 to 1989.

Lewis played a major role in Queensland’s success in the State of Origin series throughout the 1980s, winning the Man of the Match a record 8 times.

In recognition of his stellar sporting career, Lewis was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987 and became the sixth member of ‘The Immortals’ in 1999. In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia’s international standing in the sport of rugby league

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