Sea Eagles lock Jake Trbojevic.

Manly lock Jake Trbojevic is known throughout the Telstra Premiership for his tireless work ethic so it's no surprise to see him leading the way in the race to be crowned the inaugural season champion for the VB Hard Earned Award.

After the first 17 rounds, Trbojevic is out in front on the leaderboard for the award which rewards the high-end work ethic and diligence of players who usually go unnoticed, by focusing on the of statistics that generally aren't highlighted.

This season the Manly vice-captain is averaging 140.4 running metres per game. He has made 14 tackle breaks for the Sea Eagles, 675.2 post contact metres and 12 offloads, and has racked up 606 tackles at an impressive 93.2% tackle efficiency.

The NSW forward underlined his commitment to the tough stuff after the Blues' 22-12 victory over the Maroons in Origin I, when the tireless worker hopped straight on a plane to Christchurch to face the Warriors just three days later.

The VB Hard-Earned Award index number assigned to a player each game is calculated by doubling the amount of runs a player makes, plus adding in the amount of tackles, support plays and decoys, along with offloads, tackles breaks and chargedowns.

Players lose a point for each missed tackle, four points for each error and penalty they concede and a sin bin will cost them eight points.

The data shows that Trbojevic is the frontrunner on 1287, with Titans prop Ryan James second on 1241. Eels prop Daniel Alvaro is just six points behind James and Knights second-rower Aidan Guerra not far behind on 1231.