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Seeing red, white and blue: Robbo thrilled as Roosters dominate poll

The remarkable resurgences of Daniel Tupou and the Morris twins at Bondi have helped the Roosters dominate the NRL Players' Poll team of 2020 – with a stunning seven Tricolours stars dubbed the best in their positions by their peers.

Coach Trent Robinson has also pinched Craig Bellamy's crown as the NRL's best clipboard carrier according to the 150 players surveyed across all 16 clubs by in conjunction with the Sydney Morning Herald.

As a result, the annual poll has been painted red, white and blue as the premiers boast representation that has never been seen before from one club.

Bona fide superstars James Tedesco and Luke Keary have been dubbed the best fullback and five-eighth respectively by the players, while captain Boyd Cordner also came in second behind Viliame Kikau for second-row honours.

Those results barely raise an eyebrow given their form en route to back-to-back titles and regular representative appearances.

So too the acknowledgement of Cameron Smith as the game's best No.9 according to his peers and Jason Taumalolo its top lock, with both winning the polls for the third straight year.

Mitchell Pearce edged out Nathan Clearly for halfback, and Manly's polarising prop Addin Fonua-Blake being regarded as the best big man by his opponents caught the eye out of the 2020 poll.

But it's the sheer dominance from the Roosters outside men that is this year's biggest take-away leading into their grand final rematch with Canberra.

Pearce, a Tricolours premiership-winner and favourite son until Cooper Cronk's signing forced him to Newcastle, is the only member of the Players' Poll backline not plying his trade under Robinson.

Tupou hasn't played for NSW since 2015 but was in career-best touch this season before being floored with a two-month syndesmosis injury against Melbourne.

Players across the code were surveyed in the week leading into that game, with results leaning toward those turning heads in the here and now.

Incumbent Kangaroos winger Josh Addo-Carr not cracking the top five flyers is case-in-point.

Still, considering neither Tupou or the Morris twins rank anywhere near the best-paid players in the positions, and Joey Manu has usurped ex-Rooster Latrell Mitchell as the game's best centre, the acknowledgement from their peers is well deserved in Robinson's eyes.

"I think it's a really nice show of respect to guys who have been at the top of their game consistently for a decent amount of time," Robinson told

"I think players respect their opposition in that they know they're dangerous to play against and know that if they're given any opportunity, they can ice a key moment.

"It's a nice show of respect from their peers."

The spotlight rarely finds its way to Tupou amid the glamour that players like Tedesco and Keary bring at the Roosters.

The 29-year-old beanpole would have it no other way, having honed his game to become far more than a lofty aerial target on the left flank.

"I think he's found a real balance between hardness and finesse," Robinson said.

"He does both very well. He loves the new-age, tough elements of being a winger. But he's still got the finesse to finish off any chance he gets.

"Wingers these days more and more, when everyone's getting back onside, they're often called on to take a carry where they're vulnerable, where they've got three and four defenders gunning for them and they're the only ones there to take that carry.

"That's their role these days, and Toops has been doing that better and better year after year."

The Morris brothers meanwhile have landed at the Roosters for a steal, understood to be each earning less than $300,000 in 2020.

Canterbury let them go from their heavily back-ended deals two years ago, while the Dragons missed out on Brett and Cronulla ended up releasing Josh as he pushed to link with his brother at Bondi.

Were they to reverse their respective Origin retirements, Blues coach Brad Fittler would have serious food for thought based on their recent form.

The twins turn 34 in August and are managing "old man injuries" like calf, groin and back niggles on a weekly basis, but still leaving younger opponents for dead every weekend.

In turn their influence at the Roosters is telling for Robinson, who can see Manu (who cleaned up 43% of votes for best centre) thriving under the Morris stewardship.

"Josh and Brett, they know their role in the game," Robinson said.

"They take that role, to teach their teammates and pass on their knowledge, very seriously. What's great is they can express themselves so well to younger players.

"You don't always get that with players with great know-how, they can't always communicate the way they want. Those two are very good at it.

"You look for quality players at the market, that's the first thing. Then you consider how they will fit, whether their style works for what your after, how they will go with the players around them and the standards you want at your club.

"It doesn't always work that way, you don't always get a choice or a chance at players like those two. It's a pleasure and an honour to have them."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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