6 Tackles: Half-backs of 2013

Danny Brough

Brough will struggle to ever top 2013. On a personal level he was rewarded for his sublime form by winning the Man of Steel award after being a key part of Huddersfield’s League Leaders Shield winning formula. He was not finished there though, as when the World Cup came around he pulled the strings as Scotland reached the quarter-finals, with two wins and a draw in the group stage.

Daley Cherry-Evans

For someone to force their way into the reckoning for a spot in both the Queensland and Australia sides takes some doing. Cherry-Evans did not quite dislodge Cooper Cronk or Johnathan Thurston at either level, but after the year he had with NRL runners-up Manly in 2013 there is no denying that he is a special player who could go on to achieve greatness.

Liam Finn

To be chosen as captain of an Ireland squad that includes the likes of Pat Richards and Brett White is testament to how highly Finn is rated. Off the back of the World Cup he has earnt a move to Super League side Castleford, leaving Featherstone after scoring a remarkable total of 1,484 points for the club.

Shaun Johnson

The man who broke England hearts has been devastating defences in the NRL for a while now, but the World Cup was important for him as was given the task of filling the void left by Benji Marshall. During the tournament Johnson proved he can more than handle that responsibility, and the scariest thing is that he is still only 23.

Matty Smith

The performances of Smith went under the radar for most of the season, but as Wigan claimed Challenge Cup and Super League glory his importance to the side could no longer be ignored. For some people the view was that he should have been taken to the World Cup, but even without a place in Steve McNamara’s squad he can still regard 2013 as a massive success.

Johnathan Thurston

If there were any question marks beforehand, 2013 confirmed Thurston’s status as the best half-back in the world. An eighth State of Origin series win was followed by a World Cup winners medal and a Man of the Match performance in the final. At times he seems to be one step ahead of everyone on the field and he is without doubt one of the greatest players of all-time.

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