Ranking the top 50 players in the NRL has required a dramatic overhaul.
Ranking the top 50 players in the NRL has required a dramatic overhaul.

Buzz: New breed of NRL stars take over top 50

There is a changing of the guard in rugby league this year.

Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater have retired and Val Holmes has left to chase his NFL dream.

Old warhorses Paul Gallen and Jesse Bromwich are not as dominant as they once were.

They have been overtaken by others and a new breed of potential superstars - the next household names.

The Daily Telegraph's ranking of the top 50 players in the NRL has required a dramatic overhaul. There are five new players in the top 10.

Welcome aboard Kalyn Ponga (Knights, fifth), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters, seventh), Luke Keary (Roosters, eighth), Tom Trbojevic (Manly, ninth) and Cameron Munster (Storm, 10th).

Gallen and Bromwich are still ranked in the top 50 but much lower down the list.

There are bigger and more dynamic heavyweights in Jason Taumalolo, Sam Burgess and Andrew Fifita.

Cameron Smith might be another year older but he's still No.1. Still the most influential player, despite retiring from Origin and Test football.

The top 50 shows why the bookies have defending premiers the Sydney Roosters as favourites to become the first team since 1993 to win back-to-back titles.

They have nine players in the list, four of them - James Tedesco, Cooper Cronk, Mitchell and Clive Churchill Medal winner Keary - in the top 10.

They have another five in the top 50: skipper Boyd Cordner, centre Joseph Manu, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, local favourite Victor Radley and Angus Crichton.

It is easily the biggest representation from all the clubs.

And hooker Jake Friend was unlucky to miss out.

This new breed of superstars is taking over the top 10.
This new breed of superstars is taking over the top 10.

You compare this to a side like the Canterbury Bulldogs and you wonder how both are spending the same amount on the salary cap. The Bulldogs have no players in the top 50.

Skipper Josh Jackson could be considered an unlucky omission while premiership-winning playmaker Kieran Foran hasn't done enough in recent years.

Parramatta, Gold Coast, New Zealand Warriors and Wests Tigers have only one player chosen.

This could all change.

New signing Blake Ferguson is the Eels' only inclusion. But who is to say their boom rookie Dylan Brown won't be there by the end of the season. Or that Mitchell Moses can't recover the slashing form from his Wests Tigers days.

The Warriors have only Dally M champion Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

About 40 other players on my original list of 90 missed out. That's the difficulty with compiling these lists. You speak to coaches for tips. I spoke to two Immortals and Fox Sports Lab. But it's all subjective. Some great players have missed out.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE BUZZ'S LIST IN DETAIL AND HAVE YOUR SAY

News Corp Australia


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