The Wolf has watched as much NRL as humanly possible this year and has come up with his team of the year.
1. James Tedesco (Tigers) – Averaged a remarkable 6.3 tackle breaks a game and despite playing just 17 games was one of three players with at least 12 tries and assists.
2. Jordan Rapana (Raiders) – Finished second in tryscoring and second in tackle breaks while only two backs had more run metres.
3. Joey Leilua (Raiders) – The only non-spine player to rank in the Top 20 for line break assists. There was no more destructive centre in the game.
4. Jarrod Croker (Raiders) – The NRL’s top pointscorer, Croker scored 16 tries and was the arguably the best defensive centre in the premiership.
5. Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles) – Ranked Top 5 in metres and line breaks and was the shining light on a very ordinary team.
6. James Maloney (Sharks) – His numbers don’t tell the story but Maloney was central to turning Cronulla’s fortunes around this season.
7. Cooper Cronk (Storm) – Led the NRL in try assists and also scored 11 tries while guiding the Storm to another minor premiership.
8. Jesse Bromwich (Storm) – Ranked Top 10 in total metres while ranking sixth in offloads. He just gets better.
9. Josh Hodgson (Raiders) – Led all hookers in try assists with 16. Provided tremendous leadership to a young Raiders team.
10. Ryan James (Titans) – Broke the NRL-Era record for tries by a prop with 11. Devastating runner.
11. Elliot Whitehead (Raiders) – A tireless workhorse who finished fifth in tackles made with 37.6 per game, he was a subtly excellent attacking weapon whose six assists placed him second among running forwards.
12. Matt Gillett (Broncos) – Gillett elevated his game in 2016 from an already high base by tightening his defence and continually bending the line with the ball.
13. Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) – There is no more destructive player in the NRL than the Cowboys lock who finished second in run metres and was one of just two forwards with 70 tackle busts.