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My answers to the NRL Players' Poll

For my column this week, the team at NRL.com asked me to take the recent NRL Players' Poll so here are my answers on who I think are the best players in the game, expansion, player transfer windows and more.

NRL Player's Poll: My answers

Who is the best fullback in the NRL?

James Tedesco. I wanted to say Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but I could only pick one and right now Tedesco with the form he's in, in attack and defence, is the best in the game.

Who is the best winger in the NRL?

Blake Ferguson. He's had a quiet couple of weeks but to leave the Roosters for the Eels and maintain his form, with the leadership he's shown at his new club, has been very impressive.

Who is the best centre in the NRL?

Latrell Mitchell – easily.

Who is the best five-eighth in the NRL?

I've got to say Luke Keary. Cody Walker is brilliant but for me Keary has been a bit better for a bit longer and he can take control of the whole game, for the full 80 minutes, in a big game like we saw in the grand final and I don't think Walker is quite at that level yet.

2019 Players' Poll Team: Ins, outs and biggest shocks

Who is the best halfback in the NRL?

I'm going to say Mitchell Pearce. He's just won five straight man of the match awards and unlike some of the other dominant halfbacks like Cooper Cronk he doesn't exactly have a superstar team around him.

Who is the best prop in the NRL?

David Klemmer, for a similar reason to Mitchell Pearce – he doesn't have a stacked team of stars around him but he's the main guy, every week. He's getting through a mountain of work and is the go-to guy in the middle for Newcastle.

Who is the best lock in the NRL?

It's very hard to go past Jason Taumalolo. He's just so hard to handle.

Who is the best second-rower in the NRL?

Sam Burgess.

Who is the best hooker in the NRL?

As much as I'm a huge fan of Damien Cook, Cameron Smith is still the best hooker in the NRL. His influence over games and his ability to control the whole contest from start to finish puts him a class above.

Who is the best captain in the NRL?

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. In a very inconsistent team he just makes such a big difference. He always stands up even though he's a marked man at the back by himself, with a full defensive line coming at him every time he gets the ball but he still stands up.

2019 Players' poll: Premiers, player, coach and Dally M favourite

Who is the best coach in the NRL?

I'll have to go with Trent Robinson out of loyalty!

Who has been the most impressive debutant in the NRL this year?

John Bateman has been incredible for Canberra but I'm told he doesn't qualify due to his super league experience so I've gone with Briton Nikora from the Sharks.

Who will win the Telstra Premiership this year?

It's a coin flip between the Roosters and Rabbitohs but I'll take the Roosters to be the first team to go back to back since 1992-93.

Who should win the Dally M medal?

Cody Walker. He's been so good at delivering in clutch moments this year and he'll come back to the Rabbitohs as an Origin player.

Who is the biggest hitter in the NRL?

Luckily I don't have to run at these guys anymore but from watching on I'll say Sam Burgess. He just throws his whole body into it every time.

Who is the hardest player to tackle in the NRL?

Taumalolo makes a lot of tackle breaks but I'll go with Tuivasa-Sheck just because of his combination of strength, speed and that incredible step.

2019 Players’ Poll: Expansion, Nines, transfer windows and sledging

Who is the best sledger in the NRL?

This one is a bit harder to answer but Will Chambers would have to be up there.

Which current player would make the best coach?

Cooper Cronk. Now that he's announced his retirement I'll be amazed if he isn't doing some coaching work next year.

If you were starting up a new NRL team, who is the first player you would sign?

Jason Taumalolo.

Who has the best step in the NRL?

Tuivasa-Sheck, ahead of Kalyn Ponga.

Who do you think will win this year's State of Origin series?

NSW 3-0!

Which player most deserves to make his State of Origin debut in 2019?

Luke Keary. I think he deserves it more than anyone.

Are there too many NRL teams, the right amount or not enough?

I'd like to see the number increase because more games of footy to watch on the weekend can only be a good thing – but right now I don't see how you could increase it without growing the player pool or splitting the competition into divisions.

How should drawn matches be decided?

I actually don't really like the extra time stuff. Especially with teams winning off a field goal, there can be a lot of luck to it. Whoever has the momentum going into the first part of extra time has a big advantage.

Draws are good because they break up the ladder through the course of a year and particularly at the back end of the year one point can be massive. With  how tight ladders are these days at the back end of the season when the top eight is separated by four points like it was last year – one point could make things interesting.

2019 Players’ Poll: State of Origin

Where should the NRL expand to?

I'd add in a second Brisbane team before we went to Perth.

How do you rate the refereeing performance this year out of five?

3.5. There's always room for improvement but they've been above average.

What do you think of the Nines concept?

I find it a bit boring really, I'm not that interested in it.

Should the NRL introduce a player transfer window?

I like the idea of it. There's a lot of things you could make off the back of it in terms of benefit to the game as opposed to players doing it any time of the year and the instability it creates and the negative press and so on.

If you had to join a current club, which would it be?

The Roosters, just ahead of the Storm. They seem to have a really good whole-of-life approach to player development – which is similar to the Storm but they're in a much better area!

Which team did you most love to beat?

The Bulldogs – because they're the Bulldogs!

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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