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Renouf: Sorry Maroons, 16 Blues in my Team of 2021

With just three weekends of football to go, it is time for us to come up with our teams of the year.

While I would have liked to have had cause to throw a few more Queenslanders into my best 17, you can't deny how well all the selected players have performed over the last seven months.

It comes as little surprise that 14 of the players I have chosen are still involved in the NRL finals.

The Pearl's Team of the Year

Fullback: James Tedesco. He's been the go-to man at the Roosters for a long time but with all the injuries they have had this year, he has really steadied the ship and led from the front.

Wing: Brian To'o. It's been a breakthrough year for him getting an Origin jersey. He has proved his worth and has been very consistent for Penrith.

Centre: Latrell Mitchell. Obviously, his little hiccup recently with the suspension wasn't great, but before that he was playing fullback at a very high level and you just have to have him in the team. He's been amazing with some of the things he's done this year.

Centre: Tom Trbojevic. Had to be in the team somewhere. Has been at fullback for Manly but played in the centres in Origin and was scoring tries on both sides of the field. He's got a great motor and pops up everywhere. We've all seen what he's done this year.

Wing: Josh Addo-Carr. Along with To'o, they're the two best wingers in the game. Some of the try hauls he's had this year have been phenomenal.

Five-eighth: Cody Walker. There are a lot of good sixes running around at the moment but I had to go with Cody. He's consistently been playing a high class of footy all year.

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Halfback: Nathan Cleary. He's been the backbone to Penrith's season and he's done it at Origin level too. He's so dominant. An easy selection.

Prop: Payne Haas. He's the number one front-rower in the game and he shows it every week. His work rate is phenomenal.

Hooker: Damien Cook. He's still the number one hooker running around. Obviously, Brandon Smith at Melbourne is having a great season but Cook just turns up every week.

Prop: Junior Paulo. Another one who has been getting it done every week. He always got a mention in the Kangaroos form teams I've done during the year. He's had a great season.

Second-row: David Fifita. Everyone's been hard on Dave but we've seen what he can do when he is on. He might not do it quite as often as everyone would like but he's a powerhouse and he certainly knows how to find the try line.

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Second row: Angus Crichton. You get what you see with Angus: hard work and someone who whacks the line. I think he's gotten bigger this year too. He's a great second-rower.

Lock: Cameron Murray. I love the way he plays. With his work rate and what he does in the middle, he's one to look out for coming into the prelims.

Interchange: Jake Trbojevic. Jake just needs to be in this team. He's ever-consistent, I know his brother has taken the headlines but Jake gives 100 per cent every game. Manly are very lucky to have this pair.

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Interchange: Isaah Yeo. He's been a rock in that Penrith team this year. He's been amazing with his work rate, he doesn't stop all game, he's another one you just need in the middle.

Interchange: Daniel Saifiti. He's been great for Newcastle. He's grown into a real leader. You see it at Origin level where everyone steps up and he never took a backward step.

Interchange: Clint Gutherson. He's a bit unlucky that he's playing in an era of so many great fullbacks and he's missed out on some of these rep teams. He's another that's been so consistent and can fit in anywhere.


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

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