|Lewis playing for Australia in 2009|
11 August 1983 |
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||105 kg (16 st 7 lb)|
|Position||Lock, Second-row, Centre, Five-eighth|
|2004–14||New South Wales||17||1||0||0||4|
|2012||NRL All Stars||1||1||0||0||4|
|Source: Herald Sun, RLP|
Luke Lewis (born 11 August 1983) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the National Rugby League. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative utility player, he previously played for the Penrith Panthers, winning the 2003 NRL Premiership with them. A versatile player, Lewis has played (but not necessarily started) in every position in first grade football. Lewis has also played representative football at wing, centre, lock and second row, and won first grade Man of the Match awards at five-eighth and halfback.
Lewis was educated at Patrician Brothers' College Blacktown, and spent his junior career with Blacktown City Junior Rugby League Football Club in the Penrith district. In early 2011, Lewis married partner, Sonia Di Loreto.
As 2003 NRL premiers, the Panthers travelled to England to face Super League VIII champions, the Bradford Bulls in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Lewis played at centre in the Panthers' 22–4 loss. Lewis was selected to play all three games of the 2004 State of Origin series in the centres for New South Wales. He also went on the 2004 Kangaroo tour but was not selected to play.
Lewis was also picked as 18th man for the Australian side to play in the ANZAC test in 2009, but did not play. In May 2009, Lewis was named as 18th man for the squad to represent New South Wales in the opening State of Origin match on 3 June 2009, in Melbourne. Lewis was subsequently called into the team following the suspension of Glenn Stewart, his first appearance in Origin since 2004. At the end of the 2009 NRL season Lewis travelled to Europe with Australia for the 2009 Four Nations tournament, finally getting selected to play and making his debut against England.
For the 2010 ANZAC Test, Lewis was selected to play for Australia at second-row forward in their victory against New Zealand. In the 2010 State of Origin series, Lewis played in Games 1 and 3, with a one match suspension ruling him out of Game 2. Lewis played alongside Penrith teammates, Michael Gordon, Trent Waterhouse and Michael Jennings during the series, which Queensland won for the fifth consecutive time. In 2010, Lewis was named Penrith's best player in a successful season for the club, finishing second on the NRL ladder. Lewis also won the 2010 Dally M Lock of the Year award. Lewis was selected for the Australia's 2010 Four Nations tournament team, scoring two tries in a matter of minutes against England, and unselfishly giving up a hat-trick, setting up Willie Tonga. Lewis scored his first ever test try in this match, and also went on to win the Man of the Match award, despite succumbing to an injury in the three-quarter mark of the game.
Lewis was included in the 2011 State of Origin series, albeit selected in only Games 2 and 3 off the interchange bench. Under the new Blues coach, Ricky Stuart, Lewis was interchanged on the field in the 28th minute of the second game, and scored a try on his first touch of the ball in the 30th minute. The NSW Blues went on to win 18–8. Again, Lewis joined teammate, Jennings in Origin camp. However, despite NSW winning Game 2, Queensland won the State of Origin series for the sixth consecutive time. Lewis was also selected to represent Australia in the 2011 Four Nations tournament which was held in the United Kingdom. In Round 2 of the Four Nations, Lewis scored for Australia, diving over the line (playing wing) in the 17th minute, where the Kangaroos beat England, 36–20.
The 2012 State of Origin series came with plenty of controversy for Lewis, with Penrith club coach, Ivan Cleary stripping the captaincy off Lewis, and giving it to hooker, Kevin Kingston for what Cleary promised to be temporary and only for the duration of the Origin period. However, Kingston was retained as captain for the remainder of year, and many suggest that this was a catalyst for Lewis' defection from Penrith to Cronulla. Lewis featured in all three Origin games, starting the opening match in the position of Second Row, and was considered one of NSW's best in a losing series. Lewis had been contracted to Penrith until the end of 2014, however, on 9 July 2012, Lewis was granted a release from the remaining two years of his contract at the Penrith Panthers, prompting scenes of shock, confusion and outrage in the rugby league world, with many suggesting the stripping of the captaincy by coach, Ivan Cleary, being a major catalyst in Lewis' defection. On 20 July 2012, Lewis signed a 4-year contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, rejecting contracts from the Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels – joining teammate, Michael Gordon in reuniting with former Penrith teammates, Ben Pomeroy and Wade Graham. Lewis was the final member of Penrith's 2003 Grand Final squad to play at Penrith, with Season 2012 being his final year at the club.
For the 2013 NRL season Lewis joined the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks who were in turmoil due to an ASADA investigation into the use of banned substances at the cub over previous seasons. Lewis was selected for Australia in the 2013 ANZAC Test and played from the interchange bench, scoring a try in what was the first test match ever played in Canberra, a victory over New Zealand. His form was also impressive enough to earn him a spot in the New South Wales team for the 2013 State of Origin series. At the end of the year Lewis was selected for the Australian squad to travel to Europe for the 2013 World Cup tournament.
- Ritchie, Dean (4 July 2008). "Eels have inside knowledge on Penrith". The Herald Sun (News Limited). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- Phelps, James; Massoud, Josh (20 June 2008). "Panthers Masada Iosefa and Wade Graham set for debut". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Player profile: Luke Lewis". www.nrl.com. National Rugby League. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- Molihan, Patrick (29 May 2008). "Lewis backflip a lesson for sad Bunnies". goldcoast.com.au. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Blues backrower Luke Lewis buzzing ahead of first Origin game in five years". Fox Sports News (Australia). 28 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
- Georgakopoulos, Chris (9 September 2010). "NRL: Panther Luke Lewis will sign for life". Penrith Press (Cumberland Courier Newspapers). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Kangaroos romp into Four Nations finals". ABC Sports News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 31 October 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- "Luke Lewis signs long-term Panthers deal". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 25 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.