Who's in the race for 2018 individual honours
Over the final five weeks of the regular season, there's plenty up for grabs for all teams and players. Yes, rugby league is a team sport (thanks scoop), but there are lots of individual accolades on offer for this season's best.
All players would tell you they play the game to help their team win a premiership, however it is nice to be individually recognised for a good year.
Here are some of the key solo accolades up for grabs:
St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop sits at the top of the leaderboard with 187 points, but Latrell Mitchell (172) is rapidly chasing him down. The Roosters centre has been in electrifying form since returning from State of Origin camp. Over the past two weeks he's bagged five tries and 12 goals – totalling a massive 44 points. Meanwhile Jamayne Isaako's chances of finishing atop seem to be over as he's handed the goal-kicking duties to teammate Jordan Kahu due to a niggling injury. Cameron Smith is 28 points off the top, but don't write him off because you never know what the Melbourne legend can produce over the next five weeks.
With five weeks remaining in the regular season, we have a hot battle for top tryscorer. South Sydney winger Robert Jennings and Cronulla fullback Valentine Holmes are locked at the top with 17 four-pointers each. Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr and Warriors winger David Fusitu'a have slipped down the leaderboard over the past month but are still just two tries from the top. While Blake Ferguson (13) is still a chance if the Roosters send the ball down the right edge.
Dally M Medallist
The race to win the Dally M medal is wide open with several players in contention for the top gong. To be fair, you'd have to be guessing to predict who is currently leading the count. When voting went behind closed doors in the final week of May, Penrith five-eighth James Maloney had just shot to the top after leading his side to a big win over St George Illawarra. Behind him were the likes of Andrew Fifita, Luke Brooks and Kalyn Ponga. Wouldn't it be great to see Ponga win it in his first full season? Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook has been outstanding over the past couple of months and would've polled many votes, lifting him into contention. And who knows, Cam Smith could still go back-to-back this year. No one player has been the standout this season, leaving the door ajar for a player to strike over the final five rounds.
Rookie of the Year
Brisbane's Jamayne Isaako is the front-runner to take out the Rookie of the Year award, but the trophy hasn't been engraved yet. The Broncos flyer has had a year to remember as he's already scored 161 points in his rookie season. His stellar performances even forced ach Wayne Bennett to shift him from the wing to fullback. Sharks centre Jessie Ramien is also in contention for the award. A looming move to Newcastle next year hasn't stopped Ramien forcing his way into Cronulla's regular starting 13 and becoming a key member of the backline. Other contenders include Rhyse Martin, Junior Tatola and AJ Brimson.
And for those out of contention for the individual honours, there's always something to play for. A good finish to the season could land you in a rep team, get you a contract upgrade or secure your place in the top squad next year. Even if your team is out of the finals race this season, there's still plenty to play for.