#Top10Tuesday impending 2015 milestones
10. Josh Dugan and Trent Hodkinson – 100 games
Former Canberra wild child Josh Dugan has settled down in the past 18 months and is quickly becoming one of the senior men in the Red V outfit. It seems like only yesterday the lanky, spindly-legged, headgear-wearing wunderkind was graduating from a successful Raiders NYC squad as a fullback of the future. Now a 101-kilogram Origin-winning centre, Dugan is just two games away from his 100th NRL appearance.
Meanwhile talented Cabramatta playmaker Hodkinson was, at one point in his teens, regarded as one of the finest young halfback prospects in the country. A couple of short years and serious knee injuries later, with no place for him at Parramatta, it looked like Hodkinson's NRL career could be over before it had even begun. Despite a breakthrough 2010 campaign at Manly there were more tough times to come after a move to Canterbury, so the fact the halfback helped break the Blues' eight-year Origin drought and is just three games away from his ton is a huge credit to his perseverance. Others closing in on 100 are Andrew Fifita (98), Kane Linnett (97), Reece Robinson (96), Gareth Widdop (94) and Chase Stanley (90).
9. Justin Hodges – 100 tries
Injury-prone Broncos centre Justin Hodges turns 33 during season 2015 but despite a series of knee injuries, hamstring injuries, Achilles injuries (you get the idea) Hodges has still racked up 21 Origins, 13 Tests, 231 NRL games and two premierships (with the Roosters in 2002 and Broncos in 2006). He's also crossed for 96 meat pies, meaning if he spends any decent time on field in 2015 he should get the four more he needs to join the prestigious 100-try club.
8. The 200 club
There are a host of players likely to raise the bat for their double ton in 2015, perhaps most notably the Roosters' premiership-winning halfback Mitchell Pearce who, at just 25, remains on track for Darren Lockyer's all-time mark of 355. He's 18 games away so will get there late in the season if he stays fit. Some players likely to get there before that include Nate Myles and Dane Tilse (198), Nathan Friend (196), Matt Ballin (195), Ben Hannant (193) and Jamie Soward (187).
7. Jarrod Croker – Second-most points for Canberra
The Raiders had already drawn the curtains on an underwhelming 2014 season by the time prolific point-scoring centre Jarrod Croker got the chance to blow out the candles on his 24th birthday cake. Despite their disappointing 15th-place finish, Croker amassed 202 points (fourth in NRL in 2014), playing all 24 club games in the process. The haul rocketed him past club legend Mal Meninga and into third place on the all-time point-scorers list for the Raiders, and a similar effort in 2015 would see him overtake Clint Schifcoske – who is now 160 points away – to go into second all-time for the Green Machine behind just David Furner. On current form he'll track down Furner (1,218) sometime in 2016.
6. Anthony Watmough – 300 games
The rugged Parramatta-bound northern beaches stalwart has signed a four-year deal that, if he goes close to playing all the NRL games available to him in that time, will easily take him past Darren Lockyer's all-time games mark of 355. For now, though, he's within striking distance of the elite 300 games club after debuting with the Northern Eagles in 2002 then notching 19 or more games in 12 consecutive seasons for Manly. With 286 NRL matches already to his name, Watmough should get the 14 he needs sometime during the representative period – fitness and Origin permitting.
5. Brett Stewart – Manly try-scoring records
'The Prince of Brookvale' was more provider than try-scoring freak in 2014, notching 22 assists and crossing for just 10 himself (not that 10 tries is anything to sneeze at!). It helped him up to 146 career tries – from just 200 games. Six more will help him to three major milestones. The obvious one is the big 150, just four tries away – a rare enough achievement. Just two tries will help him past the immortal Bob Fulton, who had 147 career tries for Manly and Easts, moving Stewart into the top 10 of all time. And if he gets six it will take him past Steve Menzies' Manly record of 151 (Menzies' 180 career tries include 29 for the Northern Eagles).
4. Cameron Smith – 300 games
The durable Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos skipper has a bulging trophy cabinet stacked with just about every individual and team accolade the game has to offer. In his 12 full seasons at the Storm (not counting his two games in 2002) Smith has never played fewer than the 20 games he played in 2010. In fact, 2010 is the only time since 2002 he's played fewer than 23 games – a remarkable effort given the 80-minute hooker has been an automatic selection for Origin for most of those years. This remarkable feat of endurance has seen Smith charge up to 284 first grade games – already the most ever by a Storm player. If he maintains his remarkable habit of missing hardly any games he'll join the 300 club in 2015 sometime during or just after the Origin period.
3. Manu Vatuvei – Most first-grade tries by a Kiwi
The 2014 Four Nations – a highly successful one for Vatuvei and the Kiwis – saw the popular winger go past Nigel Vagana's mark of 19 tries in black and white to become the most prolific try-scorer in his nation's Test history. 2015 will likely see him take another prized record away from the Kiwi legend; Vagana's 140 NRL tries are the most ever by a New Zealander and with 135 to Vatuvei's name already, the blockbusting Warriors winger just needs to stay on the park to get there. If the Warriors start fast it could even come in the first two or three rounds. While we're on the topic, 'The Beast' currently has 194 NRL caps; he needs two to go past Logan Swann to become the second-most capped for the Warriors, and six to bring up 200 – which could even coincide with his tries record.
2. Corey Parker – 300 games
Brisbane's prolific point-scoring forward will join the 300 club in the very first game he plays in 2015. By the end of the season he could be in the top 10 for all-time appearances and the top four for all-time appearances at one club behind fellow Bronco Darren Lockyer (355), Eel Nathan Hindmarsh (330) and Cronulla's Andrew Ettingshausen (228).
1. Billy Slater – Try-scoring royalty
The best and most consistent fullback of the past decade, and the first-choice Australian fullback ever since taking over from Karmichael Hunt in 2008, Storm custodian Billy Slater is approaching extremely rare company in terms of his try-scoring feats. Slater now has 170 four-pointers from 270 games, including 12 in 2014. A similar effort next year would see him overtake the great Steve Menzies (180 NRL tries) into second on the all time list – a list on which he has already overtaken such luminous names as Terry Lamb (164 tries) and Andrew Ettingshausen (165) in recent years. The overall leader, legendary Norths and Manly speedster Ken Irvine, is still some way off with 212.