Top five wingers in the NRL
As we count down to the kick-off of the 2016 Telstra Premiership season, we look at the best wingers in the NRL.
Once the men who were there for their speed and scoring ability alone, the modern day winger must also posses power and size and in many cases act as an extra forward when their side is working their way out of their own half.
There are plenty of men with speed to burn down either flank running around in the NRL, but who comes out on top?
5. Alex Johnston
2015 stats: tries – 17; metres per game – 97.8; dummy half runs – 23; line breaks – 21
After bursting onto the scene in the Rabbitohs' triumphant 2014 season and being included in the Kangaroos squad for the Four Nations tournament, Johnston would go on to make his international debut in the 2015 Anzac Test. He scored 17 tries in his second season, including finishing an impressive long-range effort against the Roosters. Has 38 tries in 43 NRL games, not bad for a player who's still just 20 years old.
4. Valentine Holmes
2015 stats: tries – 16; metres per game – 121.9; dummy half runs – 48; line breaks – 15
He made his NRL debut in 2014, but it wasn't until 2015 where Holmes came into his own, scoring 16 tries in 25 appearances. Touted by many as a future Queensland Origin representative, Holmes also proved the difference on a number of occasions by kicking three key field goals. With the fullback position up for grabs at the Sharks in 2016, Holmes is a strong contender to move in from the flank.
3. Manu Vatuvei
2015 stats: tries – 11; metres per game – 151.3; dummy half runs – 2; line breaks – 12
Injury restricted 'The Beast' to just 16 appearances in 2015, but he still managed to score 11 tries and average more than 150 metres per game. Vatuvei scored twice for New Zealand in the Anzac Test, improving his standing as the Kiwis' all-time leading try-scorer, while also becoming the first player to score 10 or more tries in 10 consecutive NRL seasons.
2. Jason Nightingale
2015 stats: tries – 5; metres per game – 138.6; dummy half runs – 52; line breaks – 5
While not as prolific in 2015 as in past seasons, Nightingale is still one of the finest wide men going around in the NRL. Perhaps the most well-rounded of any player on this list, the Red V favourite had 52 darts from dummy half this past season, and made 170 tackles, considerably more than any other of the top five.
1. Semi Radradra
2015 stats: tries – 24; metres per game – 170.9; dummy half runs – 22; line breaks – 25
Radradra is the latest in a long line of impressive Fijian wingers, but if he can build on what he's achieved so far in his NRL career he could go down as one of the finest ever. Consistently among Parramatta's best each week, Radradra topped the try-scoring list with 24 in 2015 – the most tries in a single season of any Eels player in history, breaking a 33-year-old record previously held by Steve Ella. Named Dally M Winger of the Year, Radradra averaged over 170 metres per game and had 25 line breaks for the season. If that wasn't impressive enough, the Eels wide man also became the first player in 60 years to score two or more tries in five consecutive games. He's the most dangerous winger in the competition heading into the new season, and with some quality new recruits arriving at the Eels for 2016 he'll no doubt continue to chalk up the records.