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The Roar


The top 50 NRL players of 2019: 50-41

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13th October, 2019
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Another NRL season is in the books, and while the wash-up and fall-out to the grand final continues, it’s time to start our top 50 player countdown.

This will be a five-part series, with ten players released each day in reverse order, starting today with players 50 to 41 on the list.

There probably isn’t too much guessing about who is going to come in at number one on this list, but the rest could be argued, and I found it harder to put this together than I did 12 months ago, which is really saying something.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the 2019 countdown.

50. Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: N/A

Tupou has been in the wilderness for a couple of years when it comes to the games elite wingers. He has struggled with injury at points, and form at others, despite the incredibly consistent performances of his Roosters side.


This year, though, he was back at his dangerous back.

Tupou has the much-talked-about height advantage, and put it to good use this year, regularly causing opposition wingers nightmares, but he was also a lot more involved in running out of his own end, picking up a lot of the slack left in the giant hole created by the departure of Blake Ferguson.

His 15 tries only tell part of the story, and while he is still error-prone, Tupou’s upwards trajectory really should only see him going further up this list next season.

49. Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: 17

If you had have put this list together halfway through the season, there is no question Walker would have been a lot higher up it. At the point he made his State of Origin debut, he was worthy of the bench spot, which became a starting gig when injuries occurred all around him.

Unfortunately, he fell apart after Origin. He wasn’t helped by the slow nature of South Sydney’s playstyle, but errors and poor decisions were trademarks of his game during the second half of the season.

He makes the list because he was still a part of Souths, and had an incredibly good first half of the season.

Cody Walker South Sydney Rabbitohs.

(AAP Image/Daniel Muñoz)


48. Josh Morris (Cronulla Sharks)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: N/A

The stats won’t tell you what sort of impact Josh Morris had on the Sharks this year, in what was his best season in years.

Morris has always been a good defensive presence in the centres, but that went to another level throughout 2019, while his attack was just about as good as it has ever been throughout the year.

Some will look at this selection and wonder why, but the spot for Morris is well earned.

47. Shaun Lane (Parramatta Eels)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: N/A

The signing of Lane by the Eels last off-season was one of the most underrated, and it proved to be that way time and time again during the season as he played a huge part in getting Parramatta to the top eight and into the finals.

While the big second rower didn’t have huge running metres, it was the danger of each run he made which makes him the player he is, often threatening to break tackles, bend the line, draw extra numbers into a tackle or get rid of an offload.

Lane isn’t quite in the top echelon of second rowers, but he isn’t far away and a big 2020 could have him a lot further up the tree.


46. Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: N/A

Gutherson had an up and down 2019, which, to be fair, most of the Eels did. At Bankwest Stadium, he was phenomenal. Away from home though, he tended to fall apart.

While he was generally pretty safe at the back for Parramatta, it was his attack and the involvement level in it which seemed to fluctuate dramatically at times for Parramatta.

Still, a solid season for the man they hail as king in Sydney’s west.

45. Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle Knights)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: 33

Whether Mitchell Pearce would be happy with his season is up for debate. He was in such good form during the first half of the season that he ended up getting his eight millionth recall to State of Origin, finally delivering a series win for the Blues.

But, at club land, his form in the lead-up to that was inconsistently good, and after, inconsistently poor, with many ordinary performances creeping in.

He wasn’t helped by a lingering injury of course, but when Newcastle were on, so was Pearce, and in the end, it’s hard to say he had a bad season.

Mitchell Pearce doing the double teapot.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

44. Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: N/A

During the first two months of the season, Taukeiaho was at the forefront of the game when it came to in-form props. His performance to rip the Dragons in half on Anzac Day sticks in the memory bank, however, he had so many like it.

Unfortunately, injury hurt his second half of the season and probably stopped him from being a lot further up this list, but Taukeiaho is a very dangerous prop and set the tempo for his side multiple times in 2019, before doing his job off the bench during the finals.

43. Josh Jackson (Canterbury Bulldogs)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: 24

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to move Jackson further up the list, based on the Bulldogs struggles in 2019, of which the Canterbury captain could do nothing about.

He lost his Origin spot as well, but Jackson is the picture of consistency.

That is shown by the fact he made over 900 tackles for the year, tackling at north of 90 per cent, while he also ran the ball hard and never stopped trying for his beloved blue and white.


There were a number of players who could have been in contention for these final spots in the 50, but it’s so difficult to leave Jackson out.

42. Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: 50

While Graham missed much of the first half of the year and only ended up with ten NRL appearances when he made it back, he was phenomenal in the games he did play for the Sharks.

You can always judge a player’s impact to his side by the way they play when he is out, and Cronulla’s performance always took a hit when Graham wasn’t there.

He had eight offloads, four line breaks and a pair of try assists, but it’s what he does in the lead-up to scoring plays or breaks, his quick passing, solid kicking game and extra creative option which is the biggest element of his game.

Will be back in Origin next year if he can be fit.

Wade Graham runs the footy against Parramatta

(AAP Image/Craig Golding)

41. Jai Arrow (Gold Coast Titans)
My ranking at the beginning of 2019: 37


The Titans had what can only be described as a very difficult season. They finished last on the ladder, and barely looked like winning a game at times.

Their one bright light though was Jai Arrow, and when he was out injured, it made a considerable difference to the intensity and effort they were able to display against their consistently more fancied opposition.

He tackled effectively in a team which generally didn’t, and ran for almost 140 metres per game in a team who played without the footy for a large chunk of the season.

Be sure to check back in tomorrow when players 31-40 are unveiled as we count down the top 50 players from the 2019 NRL season.