A month into the 2015 Telstra Premiership, we asked a selection of players from throughout the NRL to nominate the opponent for whom they have the greatest respect.
Ben Hunt (Broncos) – Cameron Smith
"The way he can control his team and control a game for so many years is something I really admire. He can really change the swing of a game in the way he plays and really takes control of the game. I don’t think many players can do that. I always knew he was a great player before I started playing first grade but being an NRL player now and taking a closer look at how players play their game, I've really taken a lot more notice of it. You just really have to admire the kind of bloke he is and how he plays his game."
Matt Allwood (Warriors) – Greg Inglis
"One player I looked up to growing up was Greg Inglis. Last year in one of my first games I got to play against him and it was a really big buzz for me at the time. For starters I like that he is an Indigenous player and I looked up to him a lot for that. He is also a big hard runner and everything he does is hard."
Jeremy Latimore (Panthers) – James Graham
Well I'll go a front-rower, probably James Graham, just because he's consistently each week, one of the best front-rowers in the comp. He's just an animal. He plays massive minutes and he just keeps coming and coming. I love watching Benny Matulino and Jesse Bromwich play as well. I've played with Matulino and he's an unreal teammate. He's playing real well at the moment.
William Zillman (Titans) – Cooper Cronk
"The way he goes about his business, he just seems like the ultimate professional. He's been at the top of his game for quite a few years now so I'll say him. Like all great halfbacks they're very cool under pressure and he does ooze that. In the tight games he does look very much in control of it and that's what you want out of your halfback."
Ethan Lowe (Cowboys) – Cameron Smith
"I’d have to say probably Cam Smith is my most respected. He's one of the best that's played the game, especially at hooker; he controls everything for Melbourne."
Ngani Laumape (Warriors) – Sam Burgess
"On the field he is a mongrel but when he would talk to me after the game he was a good bloke off the field. The way he carried South Sydney last year, he played a big role in their success. He is a person I look up to and want to play with one day."
Todd Lowrie (Broncos) – Cameron Smith
"He's a pretty easy guy to have a lot of respect for. He's done everything you can imagine in the game and off the field I know he's a really good fella. The respect I had for him certainly grew a lot when he was a teammate at the Storm. What he has done since I was there and since I left just reassured me he's the best player in the game and he'll no doubt go down as the best hooker that’s ever played."
Kane Linnett (Cowboys) – Justin Hodges
"It'd have to be a centre, I’d say Justin Hodges. Because he’s done everything in the game and he's the best centre in the world, a physical presence."