Brooke was part of the side that won the series 2-1 but it was headlines news when the skilful back-row forward was dropped for the vital third Test.
Even so, Brooke heads our list of No.8s to take on the Lions with the leading candidates spread evenly across the Sanzar nations.
Fellow All Blacks Rodney So'oialo and and Murray Mexted merit a mention for their roles in the 2005 and 1983 series wins but neither had quite the match-winning influence of Laurie Knight.
Son of fellow All Black Lawrie, Knight junior scored the match-winning try in the fourth and final Test of the 1977 series, denying the tourists a drawn series with a 10-9 win.
South Africa also has a fine tradition of No.8s starting all the way back with the legendary Morne Du Plessis.
Unable to help the Springboks to victory against the Invincible Lions of 1974, Du PLessis returned in 1980 and was a totemic force in the series victory.
If Du Plessis is remembered as one of the greatest captains of South Africa, Gary Teichmann cannot be all that far behind.
Cruelly denied a chance to figure at a World Cup, and fighting in vain in 1997 against the Lions, Teichmann is still one of the all-time greats.
The Springboks won 26 of the 36 matches when he led the side and they also went on a record-breaking run of 17 Test match wins in succession.
And then more recently in 2009 Pierre Spies' rampaging runs at the back of the scrum were emblematic of South Africa's confrontational style that left the Lions battered and bruised in the 2009 series win.
But there is of course an Australian who must be mentioned in the same breath as the other contenders, Toutai Kefu.
A World Cup winner in 1999, Kefu was at the forefront of an unforgiving Wallabies side that came back from the dead to beat Martin Johnson's Lions in 2001.