Which player from the six remaining teams in the Telstra Premiership will have the biggest say in who lifts the trophy on grand final night?

There are a host of worthy contenders, players who bring their own qualities to their respective teams. The experts at NRL.com have their say.

NRL.com experts view

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

After watching him carve up the Broncos, I would have to say Mitchell Moses when he's playing as he did on the weekend. Parra are on fire right now.

Brett Kimmorley (Former NSW halfback)

Cameron Smith. With the lack of a dominant No.7, his kicking game, leadership and playmaking are going to be super important. We've seen him play halfback at Origin level before and now we may need to see him do that again for the Storm if they are to win it all.

Jamie Soward (Premiership winner)

Luke Keary. He's the engine that makes the Roosters go. He can play both sides of the field. When Cooper Cronk isn't the best half in your team you know you've got a real talent on your hands.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

It’s hard to go past James Tedesco, especially in big matches. I have him just ahead of Roosters teammate Luke Keary purely on his game-breaking ability. He's the best player in the game.

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

Luke Keary. He is a big-game player. Every time he's on the field the Roosters are a better team. His ability to be that link player between the big forwards and the strike players out wide is of the highest order. He is making players like Joey Manu look so good right now.

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)

If James Tedesco fires the Roosters cannot be beaten. He is the best player in the game at the moment and has shown throughout last year's finals series and for NSW in State of Origin that he is a big-game player. If he's on, game over.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

Josh Hodgson. By upsetting the Storm last week, Canberra have a golden chance to make their first grand final since 1994. Hodgson is Canberra's most important and influential player, a calm head who provides most of their direction. For them to make or potentially win a grand final they’ll need him steering them around.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

Josh Hodgson. He keeps mixing things up from dummy-half so he's constantly bamboozling defences. He also keeps stealing the ball. His Raiders teammates know what he's doing and you can see he has absolute control over how Canberra play each set of six. The team trusts their international hooker and co-captain.

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)

Cameron Smith. With Melbourne now on the Roosters' side of the draw, Smith will be the key in the mother-of-all grand final qualifiers provided the Storm get past Parramatta. Melbourne's change-ups in the halves only makes Smith an even greater focal piece, while he has copped it at every turn from sections of the media in 2019. Dangerous game to play with one of the greatest players and competitors of all time.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

Josh Hodgson. Whenever the Raiders win, he is usually one of the most influential players on the field and guides the team around like Cameron Smith does for the Storm. Tough, skilful and clever, opposition teams need to be continually on guard against Hodgson.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

South Sydney's hopes of winning the premiership are still alive but will depend on hooker Damien Cook being at his destructive best for three consecutive games. When the Rabbitohs beat the Roosters in round 25, Cook was potent out of dummy half. His running game ignites Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds and Cameron Murray and that takes the rest of the team with them.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

To not just mix a metaphor but to mangle one, it's safe to say Manly's lock is the key to their fortunes. Jake Trbojevic is crucial to the Sea Eagles' attack as a secondary and sometimes primary playmaker, one of their best hit-up merchants and a tireless defender. If he maintains his elite form, they can cause another upset against Souths on Friday night.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

Sam Burgess has the potential to make or break his team. He is a massive inclusion for the Bunnies this week but if his aggression goes in the wrong direction that could be lights out for his team.

Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)

Luke Keary. If the Roosters are to become the first back-to-back premiers since Brisbane in 1992-93, the reigning Clive Churchill Medallist will play an influential role. He has already won grand finals with the Roosters (2018) and Rabbitohs (2014) and was sublime against his old club last Friday to help the Roosters earn a week off. The defending champs are studded with stars but Keary is the man who keeps them aligned.

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

Roosters fullback James Tedesco - who I'm quite confident will win this year's Dally M - is an obvious choice, but things are obvious for a reason. He's a man who can make something of nothing and will strike fear in the hearts of his opponents. If he's on, they win again.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

Aidan Sezer. We know the top-line players are going to play well. But it's players like Sezer who could push the Raiders towards the title. If he can steer the team around, kick well and make his tackles, anything is possible. 

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)

From here the competition appears to be the Roosters' to lose, and their biggest threat could come in the preliminary final if Melbourne knock over Parramatta this week. So I'll plump for Storm pivot Cameron Munster as the most crucial player of the finals campaign from here. Munster is a game-breaker who can dominate on any stage.

Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

Cameron Smith. The wily hooker has been here so many times before and will need to use all his experience and skill if Melbourne are to make it to a fourth-straight grand final. At 36, he's still the game's most influential player on his day.

Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)

Josh Hodgson. They're now just one win from the grand final and if the Raiders are to go all the way much will rest on Hodgson. The English No.9 is the one who will not only generate much of Canberra's attack but provide the calming influence you need in such important games.

Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)

James Tedesco. He was one of the Roosters' best in their big victory over South Sydney in week one of the finals. When he's in top form the Tricolours​ have too many attacking threats for any team to contain. 

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

John Bateman is on a dream run at the moment. His competitiveness, toughness and ability to be in the right place at the right time (citing the match-winning try in last week game against Melbourne here) means he is well-positioned to take this finals series by the scruff of the neck and drag Canberra to their first premiership in the NRL era.

 

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