General NRL Players' Poll 2018

razzrillinger

1st Grade Fringe
Nov 8, 2016
1,793
NRL.com Players' Poll: Part 1 - Best coach, fullback, five-eighth, half, hooker
Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
Fri 3 Aug 2018, 11:26 AM

The Melbourne Storm's dominance during the past few years has been reflected in the 2018 NRL.com Players' Poll, with Craig Bellamy, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater all featuring heavily in voting.

Bellamy has been named the top coach, Smith got the nod for hooker and Slater is still the No.1 for fullbacks, according to the players.

NRL.com polled more than 100 players this season from all 16 clubs. The players, who were polled prior to the representative season, were asked about a range of topics.

In today's first instalment of the four-part series on the results, the winners of the four key spine positions - fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker - are announced as well as who the players consider to be the best coach in the NRL.

Part two will be published on Friday featuring the rest of the player positions, part three on on-field issues will be announced on Saturday morning with the final instalment going live on Sunday morning on other key topics in the game.

One of the most intriguing responses was in regards to the question of who's the best coach with Bellamy receiving almost half of the votes to win that category.

Wayne Bennett is regarded by many as the greatest coach in the history of rugby league, but perhaps the constant scrutiny over his future this year has somewhat battered his reputation.

Bennett finished third in voting, with Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary, who has coached at three NRL clubs, finishing second with 17 per cent of votes.

Slater was far and away recognised as the best fullback in the game, with his skipper winning the best hooker category by an even bigger margin. While the Storm didn't win the best five-eighth category, the top four vote earners (James Maloney, Gareth Widdop, Cameron Munster and Blake Green) have all come through the Storm system at some point in their career.

The remaining position in the spine went to Johnathan Thurston despite the Cowboys' struggles in 2018. Thurston is still regarded as the best in the business as he approaches his final days in the NRL.



The verdict: It's hardly a surprise to many that Craig Bellamy was voted the best in the business by the players. Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary finished in second position, perhaps aided by the fact he's coached at three clubs. Wayne Bennett will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game but it appears his aura may have taken a hit among the current crop of players.

The surprise: Stephen Kearney's selection also comes as a surprise but the Warriors' resurgence in 2018, and the fact he's coached many players at club and international level, may have helped his cause. South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold would have likely polled better if it was conducted after the Origin series. Interestingly there was no room for Roosters coach Trent Robinson in the top five.


The verdict: Rated by many as the best fullback of all-time, Slater won this category in a landslide with 60 per cent of votes. It's the second biggest winning margin of all the positions voted by the players.

The surprise: James Tedesco was voted the RLPA player of the year last year. He polled well but it appears the emergence of Kalyn Ponga and the improvement of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the Warriors saw votes move elsewhere.

Others who polled well: Darius Boyd, Clint Gutherson.


The verdict: Some get better with age and that's clearly the view of James Maloney from the players. The five-eighth category was probably the most open of all positions but Maloney was well ahead of the pack. At the time of voting Gareth Widdop was on fire with the Dragons which no doubt contributed to his numbers.

The surprise: Many would have assumed Cameron Munster would have polled better. So too Michael Morgan, who last year was considered as the best player in the competition for his role in leading the Cowboys to the grand final.

Others who polled well: Corey Norman, Michael Morgan.


The verdict: It's not the fairytale finish he would have hoped for but Johnathan Thurston's reputation hasn't taken a huge shot as a result of the Cowboys' nightmare season. Nathan Cleary's stocks continue to rise.


The surprise: Last year most people would have said Cooper Cronk was the next best halfback in the game but that hasn't been reflected in the votes for the Roosters halfback. Perhaps a slow start to the season from the Roosters contributed.

Others who polled well: Luke Brooks, Daly Cherry-Evans, Mitchell Pearce.


The verdict: This was the most comprehensive-winning category of all positions, with Cameron Smith racking up two-thirds of all votes for hooker of the year. The off-contract Issac Luke is still highly-regarded by his peers as Damien Cook continues to impress. It would be interesting to see how high Damien Cook would have finished if votes were submitted post-State of Origin.

The surprise: There was no room for Queensland State of Origin hooker Andrew McCullough in the top five. Josh Hodgson may have suffered from being out of sight, out of mind while sidelined for much of this season with a knee injury.

Others who polled well: Nathan Peats, Andrew McCullough

Part two will be published on Friday featuring the rest of the player positions, part three on on-field issues will be announced on Saturday morning with the final instalment going live on Sunday morning on other key topics in the game.



The NRL.com Players' Poll is independent of the National Rugby League. The survey was undertaken by 117 NRL players across all 16 clubs. The survey questions and results have not been designed or endorsed by the NRL or the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).

https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/08/02...-best-coach-fullback-five-eighth-half-hooker/

The Storm dominated with Bellamy best coach, Smith best hooker and Slater best fullback.

But the Warriors were the next best represented team, with Kearney, Green, Johnson, RTS and Luke all polling in the top 5 for their roles which is impressive.

Good to see the respect levels from the NRL players rising for the Warriors.
 
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wizards rage

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 18, 2016
2,321
Tauranga
The first part of the NRL Players' poll has come out.

https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/08/02...-best-coach-fullback-five-eighth-half-hooker/

The Storm dominated with Bellamy best coach, Smith best hooker and Slater best fullback.

But the Warriors were the next best represented team, with Kearney, Green, Johnson, RTS and Luke all polling in the top 5 for their roles which is impressive.

Good to see the respect levels from the NRL players rising for the Warriors.
Good stuff and a fair reflection of the improvements our players have made this year.

It was done before SOO when our team was firing though so it would be interesting to see if opinions have held
 
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Defence

Warriors 1st Grader
May 9, 2012
5,683
Used to love this edition of rlw when I was a kid.
To me maloney is so overrated- he's the worst tackler in the game and has the most errors. Guess I must be wrong tho coz everyone else seems to rate him and it's hard to argue with the players.
No shame in bully coming second to smith. Re-sign him ffs.
Likewise rts behind slater (pipped by ponga too).
Sj third equal with cleary- I'd rate them both above hunt (jt too at this stage Tbh).
 
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playdaball

Heritage Member
Apr 23, 2012
2,020
Good to see Warriors doing well but unfortunately some of our forwards would poll down the bottom of the pile.
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
8,657
Laugh if best referee has Cameron Smith listed. If I was a player I'd skew the results with a smart arse comment like that.

Our players polling is a good reflection of things improving this year.
 
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matiunz

All Out!
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Jul 15, 2013
7,086
Sydney
To me maloney is so overrated- he's the worst tackler in the game and has the most errors. Guess I must be wrong tho coz everyone else seems to rate him and it's hard to argue with the players.
Get what you mean but he has a knack of having success wherever he goes- Us to a GF, Premiership with Roosters, premiership with Sharks, Panthers rising so far, origin series win, etc with Aus.
Could be coincidence but pretty good track record
 

jonno

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 13, 2014
9,804
Get what you mean but he has a knack of having success wherever he goes- Us to a GF, Premiership with Roosters, premiership with Sharks, Panthers rising so far, origin series win, etc with Aus.
Could be coincidence but pretty good track record
This idea that every player needs to be the greatest at every single skill before they can be awesome is flat out wrong. Malones winning record proves this.

Footy is a team sport, and you need guys like Malone who can create points. Just like you need guys like Mannering who can stop guys like Malone creating points.

Demanding that a player like Mannering be as good at creating points as Malone before he's called a great footy player is retarded IMO.

Likewise with Malone. You build a game plan out of the players you've got. If one's a weak link on defense, ala Hiku, you make sure his mates are helping him out. So that when he's creating points on attack you're still in the game and can win.

People who argue that all players need to be amazing at all skills aren't paying attention to reality IMO.

A player only needs to be awesome at the core skills their role in the team demands. And his mates all need to understand his weakness. That's why Malone wins so much. Because his mates always come to his rescue. And he repays them by winning the game.
 
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Defence

Warriors 1st Grader
May 9, 2012
5,683
Get what you mean but he has a knack of having success wherever he goes- Us to a GF, Premiership with Roosters, premiership with Sharks, Panthers rising so far, origin series win, etc with Aus.
Could be coincidence but pretty good track record
Yeah get that- he's been in some stacked teams tho.
Look at the forward packs those teams u named had.
Personally I'd take widdop over Maloney any day of the week.
One thing it highlights to me is for whatever reason the game just doesn't produce stand offs like it used to- look back to the 90s when u had Lewis, Kenny, Lamb, Lyons, Daley, fitler, Walters, mundine, Johns.
It's a pretty weak field by comparison these days.
 
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mrblonde

Warriors 1st Grader
Apr 14, 2012
3,523
Auckland
Good to see Cleary ranked second in the Coach poll...
 
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matiunz

All Out!
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Jul 15, 2013
7,086
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Yeah get that- he's been in some stacked teams tho.
Look at the forward packs those teams u named had.
Personally I'd take widdop over Maloney any day of the week.
One thing it highlights to me is for whatever reason the game just doesn't produce stand offs like it used to- look back to the 90s when u had Lewis, Kenny, Lamb, Lyons, Daley, fitler, Walters, mundine, Johns.
It's a pretty weak field by comparison these days.
Might be a little bit of nostalgia that time brings there( plus probably 2 different eras tbf). I wonder if in 20 odd years that the likes of Thurston, Cronk, Johnson, Maloney and potentially the likes of Pierce, DCE, Cleary jr etc might be remembered in a similar light
 
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Old Sid

1st Grade Fringe
Nov 8, 2014
659
This idea that every player needs to be the greatest at every single skill before they can be awesome is flat out wrong. Malones winning record proves this.

Footy is a team sport, and you need guys like Malone who can create points. Just like you need guys like Mannering who can stop guys like Malone creating points.

Demanding that a player like Mannering be as good at creating points as Malone before he's called a great footy player is retarded IMO.

Likewise with Malone. You build a game plan out of the players you've got. If one's a weak link on defense, ala Hiku, you make sure his mates are helping him out. So that when he's creating points on attack you're still in the game and can win.

People who argue that all players need to be amazing at all skills aren't paying attention to reality IMO.

A player only needs to be awesome at the core skills their role in the team demands. And his mates all need to understand his weakness. That's why Malone wins so much. Because his mates always come to his rescue. And he repays them by winning the game.
Yes, great comment Jonno. Just like any business or organisation, not everyone is good at Sales, or Finance etc. It's all about a slick TEAM mix.
 
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jonno

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 13, 2014
9,804
Yes, great comment Jonno. Just like any business or organisation, not everyone is good at Sales, or Finance etc. It's all about a slick TEAM mix.
This is what's frustrating about the warriors. We've got great players, but we don't play them to their strengths. It's a delusion to think some players will be trained into greatness.

Carlos Daily never reached his potential, and was constantly out of position. Should have left him as a weak tackling stand off. He'd still be a long way from winning awards, but he would have reached his potential.
 

¿N. ig-mah¿

Warriors 1st Grader
May 1, 2012
6,081
Invercargill
Still has a winning record below 50%.

What if he doesn't kick on and win these premierships that everybody expects him to?
I think it is proven now that Ivan isnt a premiership coach. Ivan is good at developing strong teams, but not the strategies to take it all the way. Probably a good technical head and a good talent scout, but relies only on the talent of the individuals and cant work out how to develop plans to bring it all together. Even though we have been an embarrassment since, i think the club allowing him to leave was the right choice. We werent ever going to progress under him. Unfortunately, we had to go through several years of bad club decisions on coaches. We are now hovering on the cusp of improvement.
 
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Boats n Hoes

1st Grade Fringe
May 14, 2012
1,484
Yeah get that- he's been in some stacked teams tho.
Look at the forward packs those teams u named had.
Personally I'd take widdop over Maloney any day of the week.
One thing it highlights to me is for whatever reason the game just doesn't produce stand offs like it used to- look back to the 90s when u had Lewis, Kenny, Lamb, Lyons, Daley, fitler, Walters, mundine, Johns.
It's a pretty weak field by comparison these days.
The game has changed so much.

Those guys we're allowed to play eyes up, what's in front of them footy. They weren't confined to the over structure of the modern game - left side/ right side, you play this side so this is the channel you attack down.......then again because there's no fatigue defences are so much better for a lot longer in the game now which is why those structures have come about in the first place.

…….bring back fatigue and you may see stand offs of that ilk again. At the moment with halves I don't think there's a defining difference (apart from one may kick the ball more than the other) between halfback and standoff.....just 1 player runs the attack on the left....another controls it on the right.....bit sad really......that's why I love it when and a Benji/ SJ/ Barba/ Ponga type emerges and just does some WTF! shit to wake the game up again.
 

matiunz

All Out!
Contributor
Jul 15, 2013
7,086
Sydney
I think it is proven now that Ivan isnt a premiership coach. Ivan is good at developing strong teams, but not the strategies to take it all the way. Probably a good technical head and a good talent scout, but relies only on the talent of the individuals and cant work out how to develop plans to bring it all together. Even though we have been an embarrassment since, i think the club allowing him to leave was the right choice. We werent ever going to progress under him. Unfortunately, we had to go through several years of bad club decisions on coaches. We are now hovering on the cusp of improvement.
100% - He’s the guy you want to rebuild a club, he’ll come in and set standards and discipline, cut out the deadwood, get some youngsters up to speed and instill a basic no frills style- then plateaus
 

Defence

Warriors 1st Grader
May 9, 2012
5,683
Might be a little bit of nostalgia that time brings there( plus probably 2 different eras tbf). I wonder if in 20 odd years that the likes of Thurston, Cronk, Johnson, Maloney and potentially the likes of Pierce, DCE, Cleary jr etc might be remembered in a similar light
I think they will be but they're all halfbacks really- where are all the great 5/8s?
I guess a lot of players who would've been stand offs back in the day now play fullback.

Edit- Boats n Hoes just delivered a much better post on the subject than I could.
 
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