avril 23, 2024

Ben Hunt, Mitchell Moses, Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker named

6 min read

By WWOS Editor Ben Glover

As the NRL’s official broadcaster, Nine takes the world’s elite rugby league competition very seriously, so when we decided to do a top 50 players list we wanted to make sure we were doing it right.

That’s why we enlisted a panel of 10 judges, including several of the best players of all-time as well as Nine’s top rugby league journalists who watch and cover the game for a living.

The panel we put together consists of: Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer, Brad Fittler, Allana Ferguson, Emma Lawrence, Danika Mason, Roy Masters, Andrew Webster, Michael Chammas and Adam Pengilly.

READ MORE: 50-41 in the NRL top 50

READ MORE: 40-31 in the NRL top 50

READ MORE: Brimson switch confirmed as trial teams revealed

Click on this link to find out how the judges chose the top 50 NRL players for 2024 and revisit the 10 players who landed from 50-41. And click here to find out who landed from 40-31.

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30. BEN HUNT (40)

All you need to know about Ben Hunt is that at 33 he’s still getting picked to start at hooker in a Queensland side that has Harry Grant. He may not have won much at club level but he’s got a winning mentality and even at the highest level he never lets his team down. You know you’re going to get an 8/10 performance out of him every game and he’s versatile enough to be a top class No.7 who can turn into an Origin level hooker at a pinch. Mr Reliable. Danika Mason

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29. MITCHELL MOSES (45)

His greatest strength is his kicking game. It’s easily one of the best in the competition. He’s always cool and calm under pressure with great variety as well. At 29 years old, Moses has developed into a great leader and communicator who directs the Eels around the park with ease. He’s also one of the quicker halfbacks in the competition so loves a bit of open space. He’s now proven himself on the big stage, and if it wasn’t for Nathan Cleary, would have played plenty more games for NSW. Emma Lawrence

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28. JAHROME HUGHES (54)

This guy is just fun to watch and he’s become one of the most important cogs in the Storm machine. He’s a perfect foil for Cameron Munster because he brings the side great direction, which gives his five-eighth the freedom to make things happen out of structure. His decision-making is excellent and so is his kicking game, but the cherry on top is his ability to see an opportunity on his edge and to take it by over calling his halves partner, then using his pace to flatten up the attack and capitalise on a chink in the defensive line. Allana Ferguson

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27. ADAM REYNOLDS (55)

He just knows the game. In a time when so many athletes play at NRL level he’s the big footy brain that just knows what to do and when. There’s no coincidence that the Broncos have become a force since he’s moved there. They’ve had parts of a great footy team for a while now but only since handing the keys to Reynolds have they put it all together.

His kicking game is absolutely elite and he’s one of the best in the NRL at getting his side around the park. Brad Fittler

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26. BRIAN TO’O (56)

He just gets it done. There’s no fanfare, no carry-on, you know what you’re going to get every week. Behind James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota, he’s Penrith’s main go-forward man.

Wingers in the modern game are an extension of front-rowers and no one gets them going forward like the pocket rocket, who always plays with a smile on his face. Andrew Johns

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25. LINDSAY COLLINS (66)

He’s had a big couple of years and made some big plays at the highest level of the game. He’s a big body and he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the hard work, but he also pops up in situations where you might not expect to see a front-rower. Catching that kick over the top of James Tedesco in Origin is a perfect example of something you wouldn’t expect from him, but he’s just a competitor. He wants to win and when he’s in your team you’ve got a better chance of doing that. Two years ago there’s no way he would have made an NRL top 50 list but he’s had a really strong 18 months, which he should get extra credit for considering the Roosters have been disappointing in that time. Darren Locyker

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24. NICHO HYNES (73)

His versatility ranks him No 24 but his best positions are fullback and in the halves. Representative selectors will always be tempted to find a position for him on the bench because he can fill in on the wing, or even around the ruck, as he did with the Storm. However, when he is playing away from his preferred positions against the best in big games, he can be exposed. His former Storm team mate, Cameron Munster, knew he had it over Nicho in last year’s Origin series when Hynes was drafted in as centre late in a match.

Munster locked eyes with Nicho, briefly hypnotising him and finding the gap for a match winning try. Universally loved for his advanced sense of social justice, he has to become more self-centred and shed his crises of confidence. Roy Masters

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23. JOSEPH TAPINE (90)

The Canberra enforcer finished voting as the fifth best prop in the game behind Payne Haas, James Fisher-Harris, Addin Fonua-Blake and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. Tapine possesses great skill for such a big and powerful forward and has taken over from veteran Josh Papali’i as the leader of the Raiders pack in recent seasons. Tapine has averaged more than 155 metres per game in the past two seasons and has proven his durability by featuring in 49 of Canberra’s 52 games over the past two seasons. Michael Chammas

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22. CODY WALKER (101)

Is it really possible he didn’t debut in the NRL until 26? In terms of late bloomers, there arguably hasn’t been one better and he shows no signs of slowing down yet at 34. It’s hard to define what makes Walker the player he is, but his touch is so deft it was once said he doesn’t even leave fingerprints on the ball. The marshal of South Sydney’s left-side attack who grabbed his latest chance in NSW colours in State of Origin III, he rarely makes the wrong call with his array of passes, creating space for his outside men by taking the ball so deep into the line. Adam Pengilly

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21. LIAM MARTIN (104)

At a time when bush football’s existence and relevance is under threat, Temora’s Liam Martin is a reminder of why it remains rugby league’s great nursery. Last September, Panthers legend Greg Alexander called him the game’s best backrower and it’s difficult to dispute. Martin’s toughness and relentless approach on either side of the ball has made him a mainstay of NSW and Australian teams, not to mention the three premierships with Penrith. When he’s not running into the teeth of the defence, you’ll often find him running the right line and hitting the right hole for a try. Andrew Webster

Graphics – Tara Blancato

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