The halfback of any footy team is often the critical link that connects any attacking play.
They pull the strings and for this reason, the No.7 has become one of the most highly sought after and highest paid positions in the NRL.
Reputable names, including Mitchell Pearce, Nathan Cleary, Shaun Johnson, Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans and Jahrome Hughes, are some influential players that spring to mind.
Perched at the peak of the table sit the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers after proving their dominance to the rest of the competition.
Both sides are flooded with stars and possess an abundance of talent, yet it’s no secret that a pivotal key to both their respective successes is their respective No.7s.
Nathan Cleary at a young age has cemented himself as arguably the form player over the last two NRL seasons, give or take.
He has taken Penrith to a grand final, won three out of four Origin series with the Blues and is tipped to be the next captain of his state when James Tedesco’s time is up.
When Cleary has played this season, the Panthers have not lost.
Some 2021 stats for reference below:
Played 12, won 12
Try assists: 14
Forced dropouts: 15
Average running metres: 118
Line break assists: 10
Tackle efficiency: 91.5 per cent
Enter Jahrome Hughes, the current premiership-winning halfback. Jahrome Hughes has been nothing but immense for Bellamy’s men this season, winning 16 out of 18 games.
Melbourne recently broke the record by winning ten games by 40-plus points, a statistic accompanied by the amount of one-sided matches this season has caused controversy in the NRL world and may lead to rule changes being made for the 2022 season.
Hughes is chaperoned with the star-studded side of the Storm including Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Brandon Smith and Nicho Hynes.
With Storm in such commanding form, a problem is arising in which Papenhuyzen and Grant might have to fight for their spot back after The Cheese and Hynes have proven to tick for the Storm. Some 2021 stats for Hughes below:
Played 18, won 16
Try assists: 16
Forced dropouts: 7
Average running metres: 106
Line break assists: 11
Tackle efficiency: 88.5 per cent
Ivan Cleary and Craig Bellamy have come out and said they wouldn’t swap their respective No.7s for anyone.
Both players have the likes of Cameron Munster and Jarome Luai by their side to help dictate the play, which is always a bonus!
Both at the top of their game, and a nightmare for the opposition when these boys decide to switch it on.
Which halfback are you picking in your fantasy NRL team of the season so far?