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Experts' view: Best wing/centre combination in NRL

A good combination between a team's centre and winger can be worth its weight in gold.

Tries galore at one end, and none conceded at the other makes for a recipe that helps coaches sleep at night.

The experts at NRL.com have had a look at the 16 teams and found their favourite combinations.

Experts view

Jamie Soward (former Blues five-eighth)

Joey Manu and Brett Morris have the perfect understanding of each other and have combined with such ease for the Roosters. It's hard to remember a time when their opponents got the better of them.

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo have been in blockbusting form for the Eels on that left edge. It's the case of old-man Jennings and rampaging Sivo in tandem that has helped propel the Eels into a premiership force.

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Jennings has really excited me with the way he's finishing what has been a stellar career ad Sivo is set for an electrifying decade in the NRL.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

Jesse Ramien and Sione Katoa from the Sharks. Love statistics when they back up what you’re seeing on the park each week. These two have played together 11 times this year and have 18 tries between them, 15 line breaks and 96 tackle busts. Certainly Shaun Johnson on their inside has helped but this centre-winger combo are hard to handle – fends, strength, speed.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

Stephen Crichton and Josh Mansour in a short space of time have struck up a potent pairing on Penrith's left edge, cashing in on the carnage caused by Fijian forward Viliame Kikau.

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Crichton has carved up a lot of opponents on his own while Mansour is back to near his best form after a couple of seasons severely hampered by serious injuries.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

A bit of bias might be shining through here, but Maika Sivo and Michael Jennings have been a wonderful combination for the Eels this year. Jennings is having an exceptional year this year and his experience, particularly in defence has been of great assistance to Sivo. He also gives plenty of ball to Sivo who is one of the most dangerous players in the NRL close to the line.

Lone Scout (NRL.com Fantasy guru)

This year’s NRL players poll ranked all the Roosters’ back five as the best in their positions, and it’s hard to argue with that considering the team’s dominance in recent years.

Joey Manu has arguably been the best centre in the game for some time now and Brett Morris is one of the great all-time wingers, forming a lethal partnership on the right that ensures the premiers are always capable of converting attacking opportunities into points.

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Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

Sharks duo Jesse Ramien and Sione Kotoa is one of the deadliest centre/wing combinations in the game. Katoa is currently leading the competition in tries (12), while his inside man has collected six meat pies.

Aside from the points scored there are constantly creating opportunities down that right edge. Hungry for the ball in hand, Kotoa has made 172 runs in 12 games and collectively they’ve accumulated 96 tackle breaks and 15 line breaks.

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Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

A reborn Michael Jennings and Fijian flyer Maika Sivo have been dynamite for the Eels on the left edge. Jennings sets Sivo up with class and there is no better duo to watch with the Eels veteran's dancing feet and speed combined with the raw power of his partner in havoc.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

The Roosters right edge of Joey Manu and Brett Morris has it all. Arguably the best centre in the game, and outside him the man who has spent most of his career as the best winger on the planet producing some absolutely vintage footy.

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They can create tries out of nothing and no opportunity goes begging while in defence they are a well-oiled machine with plenty of trust. The Roosters left edge of Josh Morris and Dan Tupou isn’t too far behind them.

Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

Joey Manu and Brett Morris. The Roosters duo boast a great mix of experience, professionalism and brilliance on the right edge. Like the rest of their champion team, they’re almost always in sync and hold their own in attack and defence.

Martin Lenehan (NRL.com senior journalist)

With 18 tries between them in 2020, Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo have been dynamic and destructive on Parramatta’s left edge. At 32, Jennings is playing some of the best footy of his 290-game career and Sivo has been the beneficiary on many occasions. If the Eels are to break their 43-year drought the Jennings-Sivo combination will be at the heart of their success.

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

Joey Manu and Brett Morris. Manu is the best centre in the game at the moment, and when fit, Brett Morris has proven he is still one of the best wingers in the game. Together they’ve racked up 12 tries, eight try assists, 15 line breaks and 73 tackle breaks in 22 games this season – plus they’ve saved plenty of four-pointers as well - making them the most lethal centre/wing combination in the NRL.

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Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

Michael Jennings and Mika Sivo.  The Parramatta left edge pairing is one of the most lethal in attack and impenetrable in defence. Jennings (7) and Sivo (11) have combined for 18 of the 23 tries scored on Parramatta's left edge this season, which comprises almost half of the Eels' 47 tries. Defensively, opposition sides have only scored six tries on their side of their field. 

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

It may be seen as controversial but Joey Leilua and David Nofoaluma have the makings of being a potent point of attack for the Wests Tigers and prior to Leilua’s suspension were building a handy combination on the right edge. With more time spent together, the pair have a chance to recapture early-season form.

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Kenny Scott (NRL.com Sunday Session podcaster)

It’s boring, and obvious, but with the lack of dual player portmanteaus ala "Leipana", the standout combination is Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo. They’re both frequent try scorers, with Sivo sitting equal second and Jennings sitting equal sixth of the top try scorers list, and both players are also in the top 10 of the league for line breaks.

Honourable mention goes to Zac Lomax and Mikaele Ravalawa. Some of the passes they've been putting together lately show there’s potential for "Ravalomax" to enter the NRL vernacular.

 

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