The NRL season is building up, with the Grand Final scheduled for 10 October when it all comes to a fiery end. There are some stellar players across the League this season, and it’s no easy feat to narrow down our top picks to watch as we head into the pointy end. But, someone’s gotta do it, so we’ve listed 5 NRL players to look out for this finals season. Whether they’re on your team or not, there’s no denying these guys play an epic game!
Nathan Cleary, Panthers
Though the Grand Final loss was a tough one for the Panthers, it’s looking likely that 2021 could be the year. Cleary’s passion for the game was strong from start to finish in the 2020 season. He saw improvements throughout the season, culminating in the Dally M halfback of the year and 3rd overall Dally M count. At the age of 23, he’s in the prime of his career and is a force to be reckoned with. Cleary has the strength to take the Panthers with him as he goes into September, with many looking for a Storm showdown in the big dance, could he pull it off?
Jack Wighton, Raiders
As the 2020 Dally M medallist, Wighton is an obvious choice for top NRL players to look for in the finals. In 2019 he was presented the Clive Churchill medal, only the 4th player to win on a losing side in the Grand Final. Although he may not have the hard stats like some of the others, Wighton is a total superstar on the field and brings a heavy dose of excitement to the game. Sitting at 9th, the Raiders have a tough run home with three of the final five games up against teams in the top eight. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Wighton in the first round?
He finished the 2020 season as the top try scorer with 23 tries. Talk about finishing on top! Proudly of Indigenous and Papua New Guinea heritage, Johnson’s played for both Australia and Papua New Guinea at an international level, as well as for the Indigenous All Stars. Flash back to 2014 when the Rabbitohs won the Grand Final in AJ’s first year on the team. No surprise he was the competition’s highest try scorer that year too. Look out for this one; he’s been playing his best game from the start of his career and we don’t see him slowing down any time soon.
James Tedesco, Roosters
Playing as fullback and captain of the Sydney Roosters, Tedesco has become somewhat of a household name over the years. In his 4th season with the Roosters, he’s snagged three consecutive Jack Gibson Medals – for the first time in the Club’s history. Oh, did we mention his Dally M Player of the Year award in 2019? Or how about representing Australia 6 times and Italy on 4 occasions on the international comps? To that, we say Tedesco may be one of the best players on an international level, and we’ll have our eyes firmly on him in September.
Cameron Munster, Storm
With the 2020 Grand Final win under his belt, Munster not only ignites the field throughout the NRL season, but he gave it all he got in the Origin series this year. He may have only played 2 minutes of Game 2 due to a head knock, but Munster walked away with the Wally Lewis medal. A testament to his dedication and passion for the game, and some say he may be the best in the world. Let’s see what he’s got this September, with many expecting Storm to stroll into a grand final, we expect Munster to put on a show.
There’s still some time until finals kick into full gear mid-September, but there’s no denying this year’s teams are chock full of strong and powerful players. There are some epic games ahead, and what better place to catch all the action than at your local?