While there has never been any doubting Dugan’s talent, his off-field problems have often held him back. He began the year in disarray but a move to St George Illawarra saved him, and before long he had made a return to the New South Wales squad, for whom he was a stand-out performer in the 2013 State of Origin.
With lightning speed and trademark footwork Escare is a thrill to watch, and as his debut year went on he began to add a devastating end-product to his play. This resulted in him becoming a key man for both club and country, as he followed a superb season with Catalan by representing France in the World Cup.
A tribute to the lower leagues, Laulu-Togagae’s efforts for Sheffield in 2013 cannot be ignored. QLT managed 36 tries in 38 appearances as the Eagles retained their Championship title, and to the delight of their fans he has agreed a contract extension amid interest from Super League clubs.
2013 was a year to remember for veteran full-back Minichiello. With club side Sydney Roosters he won a second career NRL Grand Final, before going on to captain surprise World Cup package Italy. Playing for the Azzurri saw Minichiello line-up alongside his brother Mark, and the pair were unlucky not to progress further than the group stage in what was the Italians’ tournament debut.
With some calling for him to be replaced in both the Queensland and Australia Number 1 jerseys, Slater was typically outstanding as he won yet another Origin, and more importantly banished the demons of 2008 by helping the Kangaroos defeat New Zealand in the World Cup Final.
While Tomkins has probably enjoyed better seasons performance wise, he has never had a more successful year than 2013. Not only did he win a Challenge Cup and Super League double with hometown club Wigan, he also secured a move to NRL club New Zealand Warriors, meaning he has the chance to prove himself on the biggest stage in 2014.