Top 50 players in the NRL: Part 3
We're into the third part of our countdown of the top 50 players in the NRL, as decided by the writers at NRL.com.
This list isn't based purely on 2016 form, but is simply our rankings of the best players in the competition.
This week we have a couple of new entries from the high-flying Sharks and a few of the best finishers in the game.
30. Semi Radradra (2015 rank: 41)
Radradra hasn't dominated the NRL as he did in his breakout season last year – his 12 tries in 19 games doesn't compare with his outrageous tally of 24 from 18 games in 2015 – but the Semi Trailer remains one of the game's most effective wingers and is now an Australian Test player after representing the Kangaroos against New Zealand in May.
29. Jake Friend (2015 rank: 42)
Is Jake Friend the busiest player in rugby league? Not only has the Roosters skipper made a whopping 1279 tackles – 237 more than any other payer – but he's also had the most touches of the ball over anyone in the NRL in 2016. The tireless Roosters skipper is still arguably underrated in league circles and is one of the fiercest competitors in the game.
28. James Maloney (New entry)
Maloney was always going to be a crucial signing for the Sharks but the impact he's made on the team has been immense, with the five-eighth helping turn what was once a no-frills Cronulla side into one of the best attacking outfits in the league. He won his NSW jersey back along the way, and ranks second in the competition for points scored.
27. Michael Ennis (New entry)
"He's one of the best players I've ever coached," is how current Broncos and former Queensland and Australia coach Wayne Bennett described Ennis in July. The veteran hooker may be hanging up his boots at the end of the season but he's going out on a high after helping guide the Sharks to within a win of the minor premiership. Ennis's motor-mouth reputation has arguably distracted league followers from the fact he's one of the best No.9s in the business, with his ability to get under his opponents' skin matched by his workrate on both sides of the ball and knack for creating try-scoring chances for teammates.
26. Simon Mannering (2015 rank: 18)
Despite another disappointing season from the Warriors Mannering has shone yet again, ranking second in the NRL for tackles made in a team that needs a few more defenders like him. One of the few players in the NRL to get through the full 80 minutes each week in the centre of the park at lock, Mannering continues to impress at club level despite giving up the Warriors captaincy this year.
25. Anthony Milford (2015 rank: 29)
Arguably the best player on the park in last year's NRL Grand Final, Milford exploded out of the blocks this season with eight tries in the opening seven rounds before a quiet middle part of the season as the Broncos' form wavered. Has scored 13 tries and a league-high four field goals this season, and ranks sixth in the league for line-break assists. On his day there are few more lethal players in rugby league.
24. Boyd Cordner (2015 rank: 48)
The Roosters' Jekyll-and-Hyde season proved how valuable Boyd Cordner is as a player. In the opening two months of the season the Tricolours struggled badly with Cordner (and teammates Mitch Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves) on the sidelines, but with the Test second-rower back to his best the Roosters thrived. Between Round 21 and Round 24 Cordner scored three tries, made five line breaks and busted 19 attempted tackles as the Roosters beat title contenders the Broncos and Cowboys and thrashed the Dragons. He's expected to regain his Kangaroos spot at the end of the year.
23. Daly Cherry-Evans (2015 rank: 10)
DCE slips down our rankings this year after failing to reignite the Sea Eagles as a finals force after signing a bumper new deal with the club. He remains a standout player for Manly though – with 16 try assists in 19 games Cherry-Evans is the only player ranked in the top 10 for that stat whose team wasn't in finals contention.
22. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (2015 rank: 15)
A rocky start to life as a Warrior got even rockier in Round 7 when Tuivasa-Sheck suffered a season-ending ACL injury. That sees him drop seven places in our list but at top form the dazzling fullback is one of the best ball-runners in rugby league. Fingers crossed for Warriors fans, New Zealand supporters and neutrals alike that RTS is back to his best in 2017.
21. Michael Morgan (2015 rank: 33)
The Cowboys five-eighth has established himself as Queensland's super sub of choice – no small feat when the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans, Anthony Milford and Ben Barba are available – and has excelled once again at club level. Despite playing alongside the most gifted playmaker in the game in Johnathan Thurston, Morgan has still been a key attacking weapon himself in 2016 and is ranked 12th in the league for try assists, 15th for line-break assists and 15th in support runs.
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