Peter Sterling

  • Playing Career

Playing Career

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Peter Maxwell John Sterling
Nickname(s)
Sterlo
Born
Thursday, 16th June, 1960
Current Age
63 years and 263 days
Place Of Birth
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Awards & Accolades

Dally M Halfback Of The Year
1983, 1984, 1986, 1987
RLW Player of the Year
1984, 1986, 1987
Clive Churchill Medal
1986
Dally M Player Of The Year
1986, 1987
Golden Boot Award
1987
Rothmans Medal
1987, 1990
Ken Stephen Medal
1992
International Hall Of Fame
2006
National Rugby League Hall Of Fame
2006

Biography

The title of Peter Sterling's biography, Sterlo: The Story of a Champion (1990) best sums up the career of the P’matta and Australian Test halfback. Queensland-born but raised in the Riverina, the blond-haired teenager came to Fairfield Patrician Brothers on a scholarship in 1978. Sterling was a five-eighth then but incredibly, made his first grade debut as a stand-in fullback in the major semi-final replay against Manly in 1978. Sterling was always tipped for stardom, from his early high school days to his baptism in P’matta's top grade. Shifting to halfback (Mick Pattison was the first grade pivot at the time) he made his State of Origin debut in 1981 and played in the club's first grand final victory. After another grand final success in 1982, he toured with the Kangaroos. Sterling was in such great form that he kept Steve Mortimer out of all five Tests on the unbeaten tour, forming a champion partnership with Brett Kenny at club and Test level. It has been said that his major strength was that he did everything brilliantly -he possessed an immaculate kicking game, was a courageous defender, a great tactician and a masterful ballplayer. Sterling played in one Test against NZ in 1983 and made it three grand finals in a row with the Eels. Having already showed a liking for English club football, he played for Hull in 1983-84, vacating his Test spot, and it would not be until 1986 that he would recapture the top halfback position. Sterling was inspirational in Hull's Yorkshire Cup victory and in early 1985, played one of the best games seen in a losing side in the Wembley Challenge Cup final. Sterling drove his side from a 28-12 deficit to ultimately go down to a Brett Kenny-inspired Wigan, 28-24. England had seen something very special! Sterling, who first captained NSW Country in 1984, returned to concentrate on his Australian career in 1986 and after playing in three Tests against NZ, won the inaugural Clive Churchill Medal in P’matta's 4-2 grand final win over C’bury. Sterling made his second Kangaroo tour that year and for the second time, played in every Test on an unbeaten tour. Tests against NZ (1987) and Great Britain (1988) followed and he was also NSW captain in the promotional State of Origin match at Veteran's Stadium (USA) in 1987. However, it was his great efforts with the declining P’matta club that gained ultimate recognition in his later career. (Sterling produced what is regarded as his perfect game in the club match against Easts in 1987). Voted ‘Dally M’ Player of the Year in 1986-87 and prestigious Rothmans Medal winner in 1987 and 1990, Sterling also won the ‘Golden Boot’ award for the finest player in international league (tied with NZ's Hugh McGahan) in 1989. A recurring shoulder injury ended his career in 1992 but his easygoing manner coupled with a sharp intelligence has seen him easily make the transition to media commentator with Channel 9. In 2006 Sterling was inducted into the ARL Hall of Fame.
- ALAN WHITICKER

Playing Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the List button.

Competitions

Competition   App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
NRL 228 48 1   15 190 143 81 4 62.72% List
NRL Finals 21 4 -   - 14 14 7 0 66.67% List
State of Origin 13 - -   - - 6 7 0 46.15% List
City vs Country Firsts 4 1 -   - 3 1 3 0 25.00% List
Tour Matches Australia 27 13 -   1 45 25 2 0 92.59% List
Test Series 15 2 -   1 5 14 1 0 93.33% List
The Ashes 9 1 -   - 6 8 1 0 88.89% List
English Championship 24 6 -   - 24 19 5 0 79.17% List
Yorkshire Cup 1 - -   - - 1 0 0 100.00% List
Regal Trophy 5 1 -   - 4 4 1 0 80.00% List
Challenge Cup 6 2 -   - 8 4 1 1 66.67% List
National Panasonic Cup 6 5 -   1 19 5 1 0 83.33% List
World Cup 4 1 -   - 4 3 1 0 75.00% List
City vs Country 2 - -   - - 0 2 0 0.00% List
Tooheys Challenge Cup 1 - -   - - 0 1 0 0.00% List


International

Test Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1982-83, 1986-88 18 4 -   1 16 16 2 0 88.89% List

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1982-1988 4 1 -   - 4 3 1 0 75.00% List


Representative

Australia - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
NSW 1981, 1983-84, 1986-88 13 - -   - - 6 7 0 46.15% List
NSW City Seconds 1981 1 - -   - - 1 0 0 100.00% List
NSW City Firsts 1982 1 1 -   - 3 1 0 0 100.00% List
NSW Country Firsts 1983-84, 1986 3 - -   - - 0 3 0 0.00% List
NSW Country 1987-88 2 - -   - - 0 2 0 0.00% List
Overall1981-1988 20 1 0   0 3 8 12 0 40.00% List


Club Career

NRL/NSWRL - By Year

Team Season App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Parramatta NSWRFL 1978 2 - -   - - 1 1 0 50.00% List
Parramatta NSWRFL 1979 6 - -   - - 2 4 0 33.33% List
Parramatta NSWRFL 1980 16 3 -   - 9 9 6 1 56.25% List
Parramatta NSWRFL 1981 25 8 -   1 25 17 7 1 68.00% List
Parramatta NSWRFL 1982 27 8 -   - 24 21 6 0 77.78% List
Parramatta NSWRFL 1983 19 5 -   - 20 15 4 0 78.95% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1984 26 4 -   1 17 18 8 0 69.23% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1985 12 2 -   - 8 7 5 0 58.33% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1986 23 5 0 / 1 0.00% 4 24 16 6 1 69.57% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1987 20 6 -   2 26 10 10 0 50.00% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1988 13 1 1 / 1 100.00% - 6 6 7 0 46.15% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1989 14 5 -   - 20 8 6 0 57.14% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1990 21 1 -   7 11 12 8 1 57.14% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1991 1 - -   - - 0 1 0 0.00% List
Parramatta NSWRL 1992 3 - -   - - 1 2 0 33.33% List

NRL/NSWRL - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Parramatta 1978-92 228 48 1   15 190 143 81 4 62.72% List

English Career - By Year

Team Season App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Hull FC 1983/84 8 1 -   - 4 7 1 0 87.50% List
Hull FC 1984/85 28 8 -   - 32 21 6 1 75.00% List

English Career - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Hull FC 1983-84 36 9 -   - 36 28 7 1 77.78% List

Your Say

  • Paul Carter
    10/06/2011

    Sterling is one of two players to get a 10 in Rugby League Week on 2 occasions which he got both times playing for Parramatta.In 1986 he got a 10 after Parramattas 36-6 over St George in the First ever Game at Parramatta Stadium on March 16.In 1987 he also got a 10 after Parramattas 32-2 win over Eastern Suburbs at Parramatta on May 26.

  • Paul Carter
    28/03/2012

    Sterling is actually now one of 3 Players to get a 10 on Two occasions in Rugby League Week.Because since I wrote that previous comment.Paul Gallen has now received a 10 on 2 occasions in Rugby League Week Since then.

  • David Young
    23/04/2012

    Simply the best, had the pleasure of watching the great half Back play through the Eightys era of the Eels premiership years .Thanks Sterlo for the memories so many great performances too many to list , you will always be up there with the greats of the game.

  • Ant Sales
    26/05/2012

    Thanks Sterlo for the memories. One of the greatest halfback in rugby league history. You were the engine room of Parramatta's great side of the 1980's

  • Anonymous
    02/07/2012

    grew up watching him play and he is one of the reasons why i grew to love the game.. what is also great is how much of a champion human being he has proven himself to be over the years through his commentary.. Sterlo is a total class act..

  • Sloop John B
    06/05/2016

    Sterlo, you demonstrated the true value of the halfback role in league. You gave all the Parra fans the satisfaction of following the best team of the 1980s. You need to come back to the Eels as their senior coach!

  • michael potter
    24/07/2017

    I HAD THE PLEASURE OF WATCHING PETER STERLING PLAY FOR HULL FC IN 1983/1984 SEASON.HE WAS AND STILL IS THE BEST SCRUM HALF THAT EVER PULLED A HULL FC SHIRT ON. AND I WISH HE COULD HAVE STAYED FOR A LONGER PERIOD.HE IS FONDLY REMEMBERED BY MANY HULL FC FANS.HE DESERVES HIS PLACE IN THE AUSTRALIAN RUGBY LEAGUE HALL OF FAME.HE PLAYED IN THE BEST CHALLENGE CUP FINAL OF ALL TIME, WHEN PLAYING AGAINST WIGAN.PETER WILL ALWAYS BE WELCOMED IN HULL,AND THE RUGBY LEAGUE FRATERNITY OF THE UK.THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

  • simon bonney
    02/03/2018

    peter stirling
    In my opinion is one of the most underrated players not just of his generation, but of all time.
    He was a man not natually gifted of a large frame!
    The saying " not how big the dog is in the fight ! but how big the fight in the dog ! is relevant here !
    A huge interlect , tiny ego and a huge heart and a huge talent !
    this is from a life time Manly supporter 1
    Peter Stirling is one of the few individuals that is respected by his pears from all corners for his enderavers on the field and his post playing contribution.
    he or Mal should be our next immortal .

  • clive
    24/04/2018

    having semisolid sterlo at the peak of his career and watched many fine halfbacks over the years, I can say that Peter Sterling was simply the best.

  • Anonymous
    05/08/2018

    Stereo rates as one of the best halfbacks of all time>
    Surely he deserves to be considered as a future immortal

  • elvis
    08/02/2019

    andrew johns?--cant remember playing cos of the drugs he was taking.
    peter sterling and mal meninga should have been immortals from day 1--absolute X-factors in every game they played in.

  • Anonymous
    02/04/2019

    Should be a immortal

  • Troy
    01/04/2020

    John Lennon once said “there was nothing, suddenly there was Elvis. Then there was everything.” Well that’s how I see Peter sterling. There were great halfbacks before him but he was the first that changed halfback so much that they all had to be good kickers, they all had to have game management skills. They had to plan well ahead and get to certain points on the fields for certain kicks to be relevant. The likes of Andrew Johns and Jonathan Thurston might have perfected what sterlo and later Alfie and Ricky Stuart created. But it’s easy to polish a marble statue. It’s insanely difficult to see a statue in a slab of marble.

  • Simone
    19/07/2020

    Hopefully he gets to see his beloved eels win another premiership this year

  • Anonymous
    16/10/2022

    I've only ever seen him on commentary but I've heard he had great hair back then.

  • Want to have your say about this player? Add a comment.

Contributions: Rugby League Tables, Greg Fiveash, Andrew Ferguson, Paul Carter, Shawn Dollin, Alan Katzmann, Steven Russo, AJ Lucantonio, Max Turner, Bill Bates

Sources: NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1989-90, NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1987-88, NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1988-89, NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1990-91, NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1991-92, NSWRL Rugby League Yearbook 1992-93, Irvin Saxton's Record Keepers' Club, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1985-86, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1984-85