NRL.com's top 50 players: Part 1
As the 2015 NRL season draws towards its close we in the NRL.com offices have put our heads together to come up with our list of the 50 best players in the competition.
Each week in the lead-up to the 2015 NRL Grand Final we'll be revealing a batch of 10 names on our list, starting with those ranked 50th-41st.
50. Aidan Guerra (Last year's rank: 45) – Sonny Bill Who? The Roosters may have lost a superstar second-rower last season but still have one of the league's strongest packs, thanks in part to the presence of rep players Aidan Guerra and Boyd Cordner in the back row.
NRL.com's Tony Webeck: "Entrenched in the Queensland Origin team 12 months after making his debut, Guerra offers something unique to the Maroons and Roosters that makes him hard to handle. Just as comfortable hitting a hole as he is squeezing his way through defenders using late footwork, Guerra is a key piece of the Roosters' premiership puzzle."
49. Ryan Hoffman (32) – One of the best recruits of the season and a fixture of the NSW Origin side, Hoffman remains one of the most complete second-rowers in the game.
NRL.com's Jack Brady: "Hoffman is the ultimate professional and has been one of the Warriors' best ever signings. One man you'd want on your side of the field, Hoffman may be reaching the twilight of his career but it's burning just as bright as it was when he debuted."
48. Boyd Cordner (35) – Like Hoffman, Cordner has dropped a little in our pecking order this season but with half a dozen Kangaroos appearances to his name the NSW forward is a class act in the Roosters pack.
NRL.com's Adrian McMurray: "Cordner has done it all early on in his NRL career. Still just 23, the Roosters vice-captain already has a premiership, an Origin series win and a World Cup to his name as a member of the victorious 2013 Kangaroos squad. Equally adept playing on an edge or in the middle, the versatile forward also gets his fair share of tries and is a vital member of Trent Robinson's team."
47. Jason Taumalolo (New entry) – A key weapon for the Cowboys in their rise from talented underachievers to genuine premiership threat, Taumalolo has begun to live up to the hype after shifting to lock this year.
Tony Webeck: "The only way is up for the Kiwi wrecking ball who has been transformed from a part-time threat on an edge into a bullocking middle forward that puts any defence onto the back foot. There is still some work to be done defensively but he shapes as the most dangerous running forward for the next three years."
46. Trent Merrin (27) – An all-action workhorse for the Dragons and NSW, Merrin looms as a key signing for the Penrith Panthers next season.
Jack Brady: "The fact Merrin made his Kangaroos debut this season shows what Penrith have gained could potentially end up being the NSW Blues' version of Corey Parker – just 10 years younger. Being one of the most versatile forwards in the game doesn't hurt his cause either."
45. Justin Hodges (30) – The retiring Brisbane skipper may have lost some of his old speed but remains one of the savviest outside backs in the competition, ranking in the top 10 in the NRL for line-break assists.
Tony Webeck: "Bowing out while still near the peak of his powers is a testament to the class of one of the best centres the game has known. His mere presence lifts a young Broncos backline and his tenacity a distraction for opposition players. Plus, his press conferences with coach Wayne Bennett are priceless."
44. James Segeyaro (47) – Ranking first among NRL hookers for offloads and second for tackle breaks this season, the Panthers' dynamic dummy-half is one of the game's most explosive playmakers.
NRL.com's Dominic Brock: "Segeyaro has quickly become one of the most thrilling players to watch in the game – and one of the toughest. He played on despite copping a horrific busted lip against the Roosters this year and is incredibly tough to stop when he runs the ball from dummy-half. At 24, he's going to be a weapon for the Panthers for a while yet."
43. Beau Scott (33) – There are bigger, faster and more skilful players in the game than Scott, but few can match the NSW second-rower's ability to pull off a try-saving tackle or get under his opponents' skin.
Jack Brady: "A rock on any right edge he plays on, Scott to this day is keeping the huge young crop of New South Wales back-rowers out of the Origin team because coach Laurie Daley simply can't do without him. Parramatta have certainly recruited themselves one of the game's toughest players."
42. Jake Friend (New entry) – Ranked in the NRL's top 10 for tackles per game and second for touches per game, the Roosters rake has been an underrated player for some years and is now one of rugby league's best playmakers from dummy-half.
Tony Webeck: "If an Australian Test team was to be named tomorrow and Cameron Smith was unavailable, Jake Friend would by my latest Kangaroo. The Roosters No.9 has developed from a tackling machine to a hooker with attune game sense and one who can exploit an opportunity with a dart from dummy-half, clever pass or judicious kick."
41. Semi Radradra (New entry) – The NRL's leading try-scorer is more than just a finisher. Parramatta's Fijian flyer has been a constant threat to opposition defences this season with more line breaks than any other player while also sitting amongst the top 10 players for metres gained per game.
NRL.com's Andy Bryan: "Radradra has at times almost singlehandedly carried the Eels this season, which is quite a feat playing on the wing. His try-scoring potency is well documented, but the flying Fijian is just as important doing the hard yards from dummy-half coming out of his own end. Easily one of the most damaging wingers in the competition."