NRL.com's top 50 players: Part 4
NRL.com's countdown of the best 50 players in the NRL in 2015 continues as we hit the top 20. Three star fullbacks and three international props feature in Part 4 of our top 50 list, with one player who missed last year's list altogether breaking into our top 15 this season.
Have your say on who rate as the most valuable player of the bunch in the poll at the bottom of the article.
20. James Tedesco (New entry) – After finally getting through an entire season injury-free the Wests Tigers fullback managed to live up to the hype with more tackle breaks than any other NRL player.
NRL.com's Chris Kennedy: "In 2015, the rugby league world finally got an answer to the question 'what could James Tedesco achieve if he stays injury free', and the results were breathtaking. In a struggling side Tedesco produced a massive, NRL-high 167 tackle breaks in 24 games with 17 tries."
19. Ben Hunt (42) – Now with three Test match appearances for Australia to his name, Hunt is the man pulling the strings for a Broncos side that has brought the "title contenders" tag back to Brisbane.
NRL.com's Andy Bryan: "Hunt has come up with some magic plays in big moments to win the game for his side this year, including a golden try against premiership heavyweights the Roosters and a solo try against the Cowboys in the qualifying final helping his team advance to the preliminary finals. The 2008 under-20s player of the year has evolved into one of the best halfbacks in the competition."
18. Simon Mannering (40) – The tireless Warrors and New Zealand captain has excelled in his shift from the edges to lock this season, with massive tackle counts not hurting his usual solid impact in attack. His leadership at international level is also a big part of the Kiwis' success in the past 12 months.
NRL.com's Jack Brady: "Mannering is an absolute star and constantly puts his body on the line for Warriors. While his club ended the year with eight straight losses Mannering's form cannot be criticised."
17. Kieran Foran (14) – A complete all-round five-eighth whose strong running game and sharp decision-making in attack is only matched by his fearlessness in defence, Foran is a massive signing for Parramatta next season.
Chris Kennedy: "Kieran Foran's value to a side is never more obvious than when he's unavailable, as he was for stretches of Manly's awful start to 2015. One of the most incredible competitors in the game, Foran has been a huge part of the Sea Eagles' success in prior years and recovered from injury to set up 12 tries in 19 games this year."
16. Josh Dugan (23) – Slotting comfortably into Jarryd Hayne's old NSW No.1 jersey, Dugan is the chief attacking weapon of a much-improved Dragons side one of the NRL's most dangerous broken-play runners.
NRL.com's Adrian McMurray: "After making his Australian Test debut this year, Dugan stepped up to take the Blues No.1 jersey vacated by Jarryd Hayne and won the 2015 Brad Fittler Medal for NSW player of the series. Devastating when returning the ball and able to evade some of the game's best defenders, Dugan is only just starting to hit his peak."
15. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New entry) – He had big shoes to fill in replacing Anthony Minichiello at fullback for the Roosters but 'RTS' exceeded all expectations with an astounding 240 metres per game. His arrival could make the Warriors a contender next season.
NRL.com's Tony Webeck: "Any coach handed a new franchise would have 'RTS' as one of the top three items on their shopping list. The individual brilliance that flows from those incredibly fast feet has the flow-on effect of putting his team on the front foot to start their sets. A marketer's dream, Tuivasa-Sheck will help take some of the heat off Shaun Johnson next season at the Warriors as his development as a world-class fullback continues. Andrew Johns says he will become New Zealand's greatest ever player; that's all the endorsement I need."
14. Aaron Woods (28) – The shaggy-haired big man easily surpassed his own pre-season challenge of making more than 140 metres a game, and even showed off some sharp footwork to get past rival Matt Scott for his first Origin try.
Jack Brady: "His season may have tapered off towards the end but the fact remains Woods was an absolute star at the beginning of the season. Deservingly earning further Australian and New South Wales caps, Woods finally – finally – arrived on the Origin scene even though Queensland took out the series."
13. Matt Scott (13) – No-nonsense Cowboys bookend Scott remains among the first men picked for Queensland and Australia. He produced another typically strong season, punctuated by a massive performance against Manly in Round 12 featuring two tries, eight tackle busts, two offloads, 147 metres and 39 tackles – becoming the first player in 2015 to score more than 100 NRL Fantasy points.
Tony Webeck: "He may be troubled by a neck injury that will require surgery at season's end but Matt Scott retains his position as one of the premier front-rowers in the game. The barrel-chested behemoth from Longreach topped 140 metres in games one and three of this year's Origin Series, laying the platform for his team to win both and reclaim the Series."
12. James Graham (7) – Combining the ball-playing skills of a halfback with the size and grit of the very best front-rowers, Graham's return to form at the end of an injury- and suspension-affected season made the Bulldogs a genuine contender once again.
NRL.com's Dominic Brock: "His passion may get the better of him at times but the Bulldogs skipper boasts the ferocity of a true old-school prop as well as the ability to slot into first receiver as a ball-player and not look out of place. A hugely valuable player for Des Hasler's side."
11. Robbie Farah (11) – In many ways it's been a year to forget for Farah, but the Wests Tigers skipper and NSW hooker remains one of the most complete players in the game as a dominant playmaker and his club's busiest defender.
Adrian McMurray: "One of the finest dummy-halves in the competition, Farah was hampered through injury across the season. His passion for his club and state can't be questioned, but a change in playing style at Concord seems to have led Tigers coach Jason Taylor to deem Farah surplus to requirements for next season. The experienced and creative hooker would be an excellent addition to any NRL roster."