Bird is not universally popular, but he deserves to make this list after showing his quality time and time again. An incredibly hard worker, with often underrated skills, he was born for representative rugby league, and started in five of Australia‘s six World Cup matches.
With the four Burgess brothers making history in 2013, Sam, although not the oldest is certainly the leader amongst the quartet. It is not only his three siblings look up to him neither, as after another superb year he is now regarded as one of the world’s best players.
Any talk of loose forwards simply has to include the New South Wales and Cronulla captain, who battled off-field distractions to keep up his near-perfect playing stndards in 2013. A true warrior, Gallen surely deserves at least one State of Origin series win, at the moment though he will have to make do with being a World Cup winner.
In a difficult year for St Helens, veteran Manu was still at his best. His try-scoring efforts nearly saw Saints beat Leeds in a Super League play-off classic, before he went on to be one of the key forwards for Tonga at the World Cup.
O’Loughlin only played 25 games for Wigan during the domestic campaign, but he still did enough to be nominated for the Man of Steel award. He lost out to Danny Brough but will have been more than happy with his work already, having skippered the Warriors to a Challenge Cup and Super League double.
As Parker said at one point during the year, he seems to be getting better with age. He was in the form of his life in 2013 and his performances for Queensland and Brisbane earned him a place in the Australian World Cup squad, having previously only made one appearance in Green and Gold.