And then there were 13. The NRL has taken the unexpected step of naming five of the code's greatest stars Immortals, 37 years after the first of the elite club were inducted.
Heralded Queenslander Mal Meninga, mighty St George captain Norm Provan and pre-World War II giants Dally Messenger, Dave Brown and Frank Burge were all bestowed the honour in Sydney on Wednesday night.
The latter trio are the first to join the illustrious group despite none of the judges having seen them play.
Wally Lewis, Bob Fulton, Andrew Johns, Wayne Bennett, Phil Gould and Ray Warren selected Meninga and Provan before considering the three founding greats should also be recognised.
It had been generally accepted that only two players would be named on the night after it took almost four decades to nominate the first eight Immortals.
"It was an opportunity the game could not afford to miss and the Immortals now reflect the full history of rugby league - from 1908 to the present," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.
Messenger was the game's original icon, Provan the winner of most premierships, Meninga State of Origin's most successful product and Burge and Brown the respective record-holders for the most tries in a match and a season.
Ten players were nominated for Tuesday night's inductions with try-scoring whiz Brian Bevan, Queensland Kangaroo forward Duncan Hall, North Sydney hero Ken Irvine, multiple premiership-winning backrower Ron Coote and modern Broncos great Darren Lockyer missing out.
RUGBY LEAGUE'S IMMORTALS:
Clive Churchill (1981), Bob Fulton (1981), Reg Gasnier (1981), Johnny Raper (1981), Graeme Langlands (1999), Wally Lewis (1999), Arthur Beetson (2003), Andrew Johns (2012), Dally Messenger (2018), Dave Brown (2018) Frank Burge (2018), Norm Provan (2018) and Mal Meninga (2018).
Australian Associated Press