NRL.com’s 2015 Team of the Year
Jack Brady, National Correspondent, NRL.com
Wed 9th September, 11:24AM
Minor premiers the Roosters and the resurgent Sharks rule the roost in NRL.com’s Team of the Year, while record-breaking wingers, star Wests Tigers players and potential game breakers in the NRL finals series also represent.
After naming our team of the week for every round of the regular Telstra Premiership season, these are the players with the most selections across the year.
Fullback — Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters)
In his first full season at fullback, Tuivasa-Sheck’s ran for 5765 metres with ball in hand – almost two kilometres more than any other player in the NRL – and ranked second in the competition for tackle breaks. He’s the man who starts the Roosters’ sets from the back with a bang and will be the minor premiers’ X-factor in the finals.
Winger — Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)
Having broken a 33-year record set by legendary centre Steve Ella in Parramatta’s 1982 premiership-winning season, Radradra’s 24 tries (in just 18 games) topped the NRL try-scoring list in 2015 as he continued building his cult hero status.
Centre — Dylan Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
He may have flown under the radar but Walker produced some standout performances in the centres for Souths this season, dominating against the Warriors in Perth, producing the goods with a broken hand against the Tigers and scoring a hat-trick against Newcastle.
Centre — Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters)
The Roosters’ left edge may be the best in the business and Jennings has established himself as one of the game’s premier centres. Also impressed at rep level as the Man of the Match in the NSW Blues’ sole Origin win.
Winger — Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)
Still a shot at breaking David Peachey’s record for most tries in a season for a Shark, Holmes’s first full season in the NRL showed he is a genuine star in the making with some brilliant runs in open play and match-winning field goals against the Titans and Parramatta.
Five-Eighth — James Maloney (Sydney Roosters)
Snubbed by the NSW Origin selectors and having lost halves partner Mitchell Pearce to injury late in the season, Maloney stepped up to the plate to help guide the Roosters through a 12-game winning streak ahead of the finals – producing 19 try assists along the way.
Halfback — Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
Expected to pick up his fourth Dally M Medal after a stunning 2015 season, Cowboys co-captain Thurston led his team to third on the premiership ladder with a whopping 28 try assists and 26 line-break assists – both easily the best in the NRL – from just 21 games.
Prop — Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)
Woods started the year off with the bang and continued to produce consistent performances all season long despite the Wests Tigers’ woes. The prop played for Australia and in all three Origins for New South Wales, and produced 163.4 metres and 30 tackles per game in the NRL.
Hooker — Jake Granville (North Queensland Cowboys)
One of the best buys of 2015, in Granville the Cowboys have finally found a hooker to fill the hole left by Aaron Payne four seasons ago. The rake scored the most tries for a hooker competition-wide (10), set up a further seven and managed a tackle efficiency of 95.8%.
Prop — Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm)
With more run metres than any other forward in the NRL, Bromwich led the Storm to a top-four berth and maintained his status as one of the best props in the world by averaging 161.9 metres and 33.5 tackles per game.
Second Row — Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)
At 24 years of age Sharks back-rower Wade Graham is the club’s captain-in-waiting and recently played his 150th game. On the field Graham proved week-in, week-out that life after Paul Gallen won’t be so bad for Cronulla.
Second Row — Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)
He left it late to get back to top form but the back-rower’s finish to the regular season was one of the best in the NRL. Since Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ untimely knee injury, Cordner lifted his game to new heights.
Lock — Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)
The reigning Wally Lewis Medallist for the best player in an Origin series is only getting better with age. He doesn’t have an expiry date on his career, and why would he Parker is still producing 139.4 metres and 34.3 tackles per game and remains an NRL Fantasy darling to this day.
14. James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
Forget Tedesco’s 17 tries (third in the NRL) and 167 tackles breaks (first in the NRL), the most successful aspect of his season was he was able to play every single game for the Wests Tigers – something he hasn’t done previously in his injury-ravaged four-year career.
15. Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
The backend of the regular season may have been full of controversy for Fifita but in the 16 games he did play in the regular season he was able to average a whopping 170 metres and 30.4 tackles per match.
16. Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
Taumalolo was untouchable at the beginning of the season. An absolute wrecking ball who racked up 71 tackle breaks in 22 games, the 22-year-old Cowboys lock earns a spot in his sixth season in the NRL.
17. Luke Lewis (Cronulla Sharks)
Being overlooked for State of Origin may be the best thing to happen to Lewis this year. Producing easily his best season in Sharks colours, the back-rower threw back to his winger days by scoring 11 tries – the most by a forward competition-wide.