As a new NRL season approaches we will be going through players to watch in each position.
We start off with the full-back position…
Tom Trbojevic – Manly Sea Eagles
The Manly superstar’s 2020 season was massively hampered by injuries. However, when he is fully fit and healthy he is one of the best number ones the sport has to offer and that was clearly evident with the limited time he was on the pitch last year as he secured four tries and seven try assists in seven games.
Kalyn Ponga – Newcastle Knights
The 22-year-old produced another great year in 2020 and showed exactly why he is one of the most influential players in the game today with his skill set unlike many other players in the league. The electric full-back has shown consistency issues but altogether he had 10 tries and 16 try assists for Newcastle last season whilst also chalking up 2,726 run metres, 113 tackle busts and 14 line breaks. If the Knights wish to build on their success of last year and make a more substantial run throughout the finals, then you can no doubt expect this man to be at the heart of it.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – New Zealand Warriors
The 27-year-old again stood out both on and off the field in 2020. Despite only tallying five tries and three assists last season, the Kiwi international’s work rate and leadership are second to none. A new season, a new coach and a new direction for the Warriors gives Tuivasa-Sheck all the opportunity to climb back up those rankings.
Ryan Papenhuyzen – Melbourne Storm
After an outstanding second season coupled with a Clive Churchill Medal performance in the Grand Final, Papenhuyzen looks to be one of the most talked about names in the league right now. The 22-year-old may not be the biggest of players, but his speed and creativity make him a player difficult to contain when he gets into full flow and with 11 tries, 13 try assists and 18 line breaks and average of 194 metres per game in 2020, he is certainly proving that size does not matter. Another big year certainly awaits the Melbourne youngster and there is no question that we may see his name further up these rankings come the end of the 2021.
Clint Gutherson – Parramatta Eels
Gutherson put together an outstanding campaign for Parramatta in 2020. The Eels skipper was a massively important figure for his side all year as he provided a continuous attacking spark for Brad Arthur’s men. The 26-year-old often was the beating heart of Parramatta victories and would go on to lead the side in try assists throughout the year with 19. An incredible season would also see him earn his first call up to the New South Wales squad as well as placing second in votes for the Dally M Medal.
James Tedesco – Sydney Roosters
The 28-year-old remains one of the best players the sport has to offer if not the best as his influence for the Roosters coupled with his ability to take control of a game are there for all to see as he led the league in run metres with 3,798 at an average of a blistering 200 metres per game while totalling 11 tries and 15 try assists.
Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.