With only two regular season rounds remaining in the 2021 NRL Premiership, I thought I’d get in early and name my Team of the Year.
As usual I don’t expect everyone to agree with me but that’s what I love about rugby league, everyone can have an opinion.
So without further ado, here is my 2021 Team of the Year:
1. Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles) – This is a no-brainer, Manly are so much better with him in the side.
2. Brian To’o (Panthers) – Runs like an extra forward and can also score spectacular tries ‘to’o’.
3. Justin Olam (Storm) – Can be a bit of a goose but he can sure back it up. Powerful runner.
4. Joseph Manu (Roosters) – So talented he can play anywhere but centre is his best position.
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Storm) – Just speed to burn and his positional play is excellent.
6. Jarome Luai (Panthers) – Has been quiet since Origin but is still the best five-eighth in the comp.
7. Nathan Cleary (Panthers) – Cleary is in a class of his own at the moment, he’s the complete halfback.
8. James Fisher-Harris (Panthers) – Runs hard, runs fast, runs straight. Never takes a backward step.
9. Brandon Smith (Storm) – You have to be good to beat players like Api and Harry. The ‘Cheese’ is the real deal.
10. Payne Haas (Brisbane) – Haas is powerhouse, big, strong and always difficult to tackle.
11. David Fifita (Titans) – Fifita is a wrecking ball when he gets going. Almost impossible to stop.
12. Angus Crichton (Roosters) – Can hit a hole, attracts defenders and can offload in traffic.
13. Isaah Yeo (Panthers) – A workhouse who does plenty of tackling and has become a great ball-player as well.
There you have it peeps, my ‘Dally M’ Team of the Year, so to speak, with five Panthers players in it. I think you’ll agree those five players deserve their selection.
Rookie of the Year: Reece Walsh – A natural gifted footballer. He’s fast, has a great step, is a ball player and very elusive. If he could kick goals he’d be perfect. All this and he’s only 19 years-old and still learning the game. Scary!
Coach of the Year: Trent Robinson – While I’m not a fan of his whinging whenever the Chooks lose a game, I am a big fan of his coaching and the way he can keep his team focused and playing good footy despite losing a copious amount of quality players.
My Tips for the week: Knights, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Sharks, Storm, Sea Eagles, Panthers.
The final word: There is no way that the NRL are ready to introduce a 17th team into the competition for the 2023 season. The game is absolutely bleeding money and needs time to stabilise before another side is introduced. 2024 should be the absolute earliest date!
Peter Lang is an experienced writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.