Footy's Lazarus, Stuart in honours list

Darren WaltonAAP
Rugby league star and 'shock' senator Glenn Lazarus is named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Camera IconRugby league star and 'shock' senator Glenn Lazarus is named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Credit: AAP

Try telling Glenn Lazarus that sport and politics don't mix.

Lazarus mixed the two with such distinction that he's been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia, recognising his unprecedented feats in rugby league and successful foray into parliament.

The only player ever to win premierships with three different clubs, Lazarus was among two former NRL greats named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List, released late on Sunday.

The former Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne grand final hero was lured into politics by billionaire businessman Clive Palmer and was as shocked to be elected as a senator in 2014 as he was to hear news of the latest gong.

"I really thought I had very little chance being a New South Welshman in the state of Queensland so it was a massive surprise and obviously a massive privilege to be voted in as a senator," he told AAP.

In reality, the former Test prop shouldn't have been so surprised given he'd long been an adopted Queenslander after playing for the Broncos, but against the Maroons in State of Origin for so many years.

But for all his accomplishments on the field, Lazarus said nothing could beat playing for his country - his passion typical of the only man to be named players' player for two straight Kangaroos tours of Great Britain, in 1990 and 1994.

"I always loved pulling on the green and gold. Grand finals and State of Origin are wonderful too but there's just something very special about representing Australia," he said.

"Playing for Australia at Old Trafford or Wembley Stadium was just wonderful."

The 55-year-old ranks his OAM "up there" with everything he achieved in sport and politics.

"It was out of the blue and I feel very privileged and humble," he said.

"I'm just a bloke that grew up in Queanbeyan and loved playing rugby league and fortunately I was able to make a career out of it."

Lazarus's 1989 and 1990 grand final-winning teammate and now-Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was also honoured, appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, his citation noting "significant service to rugby league and to the community".

Stuart also won three premierships, all with Canberra, before guiding the Sydney Roosters to grand final glory in 2002 to join an elite group to complete the player-coach premiership double.

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