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Renouf: Why these six stars are NRL's most influential players

Tom Trbojevic is the most influential player in the competition for what he has done for Manly in the four weeks since he returned from injury.

In just four games he has scored five tries, had eight try assists, seven line break assists and more importantly for Manly they have three wins.

The Sea Eagles were struggling over the first month of the season but since Trbojevic returned they’ve beaten the Titans, Tigers and Warriors while giving the unbeaten Panthers one of their toughest tests of the season.

I don’t know whether it’s Trbojevic’s positional play that makes all the difference, but he is quick and he is a big unit and that causes headaches for the opposition.

Both the Trbojevic boys, Jake and Tommy, have got footy heads. They play what's in front of them.

Sea Eagles v Broncos - Magic Round

A lot of players in this modern day game don’t do that anymore but these Trbojevic boys are among the handful who always do that and it’s why they’re dominant players at the moment.

The beauty of Magic Round for me is that I finally get a chance to see all these influential players live. Here are the other standouts I can’t wait to watch closely at Suncorp Stadium this weekend:

Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary

The Penrith duo remind me a lot of Allan Langer and Kevin Walters. They just complement each other.

They’ve played with each other since juniors, they know each other’s game inside and out and they let each other play their natural game.

In the context of the modern game and the halves we have in the NRL at the moment, it’s a pretty unique relationship.

Luai the spark, Cleary the finish

I can definitely see either Nathan or Jarome winning the Dally M Medal this season. The best thing about them is they always want the ball in their hand, they are always in the game and trying to win.

You would think the Origin selection is a no-brainer for Brad Fittler. NSW simply has to run with that club combination in the halves. Why would you try to piece together a spine when you’ve got a six and seven who are both playing so well and work together so perfectly?

Josh Addo-Carr

I’m really keen to see how Josh Addo-Carr backs up after that amazing six-try haul last week. People say he is a winger who just finishes off tries because that’s his job, but what they don’t see is what it takes for him to be in the right position every time.

There is so much about anticipation, putting yourself in the right spot so you can turn every opportunity into points. Few players do that better than Addo-Carr.

I’ve seen plenty of good wingers this year who over-run the ball or don’t time their run right but Josh seems to get it right most times.

He is looking up all the time. He is playing what is in front of him and if there is an opportunity even in Melbourne’s own end of the field he is ready to take it.

Fantastic Mr Foxx's six-try haul

Sam Walker

It’s amazing what he has done in his short career Sam has already propelled himself into that upper echelon of players. That is why he gets that special mention as an influential player after just six NRL games.

He has showed in just the last few weeks how influential he has been for the Roosters in crucial times of the game.

He is probably the one player I really want to see live. I have never seen him play live. Ben and Shane have asked me to go out and watch him in the past but I just haven’t got around to it but I will get to see him play live on the weekend and he is a pretty special player.

Analysing Sam Walker's stellar seven-minute spree

I texted Ben when I watched him play on TV the other week and said, “Geez he’s got a bit of you in him”, which he does. He can read the play but he seems to have that little bit extra.

It would be good to see him off the ball, just to see his organisation skills. You don’t always get to see that on TV.

I couldn’t tell you from what I’ve seen on the TV if he is a good talker so that would be good to watch just to see how he views the game and organises his team.

AJ Brimson

Obviously the Titans will miss David Fifita but when they are at their best quite often it’s fullback AJ Brimson who is in amongst it.

I’ve been really impressed with AJ. Obviously breaking through to play Origin last year has given him more confidence and you only had to look at the Titans last week to see just how much influence he had where he can set up tries, create opportunities and score tries too.

The good thing about AJ is he has put on a bit of weight and by putting it on he hasn’t lost any speed with it. I think it’s really benefitted him that he carries a little bit more bulk because it’s made him stronger and harder to tackle.

Magic Moments: Brimson shows Sharks a clean pair of heels

That play the Titans did from the kick-off is obviously a set play and he is smart enough to call it. If anyone is going to do that coming out of their end he is the man to do it.

The Titans like to shift the play around but he is the man that needs to be in the right spot to make sure they seize any gaps they create with their ball movement. I want to see how the Titans style of play measures up against Penrith. It will be interesting to see.

 

NRL Magic Round Brisbane 1-Day & 3-Day Passes are now on sale with eight massive games across round 10 at Suncorp Stadium. With the league's best players all heading to Brisbane, you'd hate to miss it! Tickets at NRL.com/Tickets