AFTER much deliberation and number crunching we finally arrive at RLW’s century of champions.
From sensational rookies to evergreen veterans – the game’s elite 100 players have been revealed.
Let the debate begin . . .
The big Samoan is one of the most destructive forwards in the game – although that’s almost a given for a man who tips the scales at 122kg. Kasiano was a revelation off the bench for the Bulldogs in 2016, with his impact often altering games in his side’s favour. Despite his big frame he possess neat footwork and soft hands near the line to accompany his brute strength.
The rampaging back-rower enjoyed another year terrorising defences with his hard-running and physical play. After being axed for disciplinary reasons, Thompson returned to his devastating best. His workman-like efforts are crucial for club and country and his consistency is a rarity in a Warriors side known to be otherwise.
Things couldn’t have gone much better for Peats after he was shipped to the Gold Coast as part of the Eels’ attempt to ease their salary cap woes. Peats has made a seamless transition to life on the Gold Coast and the hooker is very much in-line for Blues contention next season. A versatile No.9 who makes the right choice more often than not from dummy half, with his running game equal to that of anyone else in the NRL.
Last year: 83
McGuire may well be one of the most honest players in the game today. The 26-year-old was unlucky not to be selected for the Kangaroos in the Four Nations tournament after making his Test debut earlier in the year. His direct play going forward, coupled with his ability to find an offload, make him a coach’s dream. He’ll remain a regular in the Maroons camp, regardless of what happens at international level.
Last year: 84
Despite missing a few games through injury, McCullough remains a key component in the Broncos line up. The 26-year-old knows his role within the Brisbane team and consistently delivers what’s asked of him when on the field. Averages 40 tackles a game and is the perfect facilitator for his halves.
Last year: 29
On his day the Kiwi international is one of the best props in the game – it’s just a matter of bringing that effort every week to remain on par with the elite big men in the NRL. After a stellar season in 2015 off-field drama and axing saw him slide on the RLW list, but anyone that can combine his size with his mobility and ball-playing ability will remain a rarity in the game.
Last year: 73
He mightn’t be the first choice hooker when starting up a team but there’d be quite a few NRL clubs that could do with his quality heading into next season. The former Panther has been tearing it up in the Super League after being squeezed out at Penrith and remains one of the best hookers in the game.
Last year: 58
Arguably one of the fastest players in the game, Roberts’ NRL redemption hit a few road blocks in 2016. While he wasn’t able to replicate his efforts from last year there’s no doubting his natural ability. With speed to burn and an eye for the line ‘The Jet’ can burn opposition defensive lines from anywhere on the park.
McQueen is a revitalised man on the Gold Coast. The versatile second-rower showed he still has all the attributes that had him ranked as one of the best hole runners in the league a few seasons ago.
The Panthers have a plethora of young, exciting talent coming through and Peachey is right up there with the best of them. He is the true definition of a utility and can cover almost every position on the field. The 25-year-old had a career-best season as he notched up 13 tries, nine try-assists and an impressive 92 tackle breaks.