NRL.com's top 50 players: Part 2
We continue our countdown of the best players in the Telstra Premiership, as voted by NRL.com's editorial team. We'll reveal a new group of 10 players to make our top 50 list each week until revealing our No.1 in Grand Final Week.
40. Will Chambers (New entry) – The Melbourne Storm speedster is one of the game's most underrated players, shining on the game's toughest stage this season with a game-high 260 metres, two line breaks and a try in Queensland's crucial State of Origin I victory.
NRL.com's Tony Webeck: "The Kangaroos selectors showed their hand in May when they opted for Chambers ahead of a farewell appearance for Justin Hodges and it is clear the Storm right centre will assume the mantle from Hodgo for the Maroons next year. Just as dangerous beating a man on the outside as he is spearing back on an angle, the 27-year-old is currently at the peak of his powers."
39. Darius Boyd (New entry) – After a few quiet seasons at Newcastle Darius Boyd is back to his best in Brisbane, helping the Broncos become premiership heavyweights once again.
Tony Webeck: "His dramatic transformation off the field has enabled Boyd to return from a pre-season Achilles injury to guide the young Broncos backline to the top of the table in his first season back at the club. His combination with halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt is developing nicely but it is positional play in defence and his communication that has been so critical to Brisbane's resurgence."
38. Andrew Fifita (Last year's rank: 26) – The rampaging Sharks prop has dropped in our estimations a little this season but remains one of the most fearsome big men in the game. He has been the most valuable prop in NRL Fantasy in 2015.
Tony Webeck: "It's been a year of drama for Fifita who returns from a club-imposed suspension in time for the finals and who was dropped from the NSW Origin team after Game One. But back in club-land Fifita is an unpredictable man mountain who is almost impossible to contain, averaging 170 metres per game with a total of 71 tackle busts. He's the Sharks' finals wild card capable of anything."
37. Blake Austin (New entry) – After a string of dazzling performances for Canberra Austin has arguably been the best recruit of the season, with an outstanding running game from five-eighth earning him 14 tries – the most of any half in the NRL – plus the second-most tackle breaks and line breaks among NRL halves.
NRL.com's Dominic Brock: "Blake Austin's arrival has helped turn Canberra into one of the NRL's best attacking sides, and if he continues to tear holes through defences next season he could be exactly what the NSW Blues need at five-eighth."
36. Adam Reynolds (New entry) – This time last season the critics were still doubting whether Reynolds could perform on the big stage. Since then Reynolds has emphatically ended those doubts, leading Souths to the Telstra Premiership, World Club Challenge and Auckland Nines titles.
Dominic Brock: "He's got arguably the best kicking game in the business, is one of the NRL's best goal-kickers, has a cool head on his shoulders, has won games on the big stage and is a South Sydney junior running the show for the Rabbitohs. What's not to like?"
35. Matt Gillett (38) – While Wayne Bennett, Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt have grabbed the spotlight, Gillett remains one of the Brisbane Broncos' most consistent performers – an 80-minute forward who does the hard yards, gets through his fair share of tackles and can provide a bit of spark in attack as well.
NRL.com's Jack Brady: "In a Broncos forward pack that is absolutely stacked with stars such as Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Alex Glenn, Gillett still always manages to stand out which is why he continues to be picked for the Maroons when State of Origin rolls around every year."
34. Brett Stewart (16) – He may be into his 30s but Brett Stewart still know his way to the tryline, with his 16 four-pointers this season ranking him first at Manly and fourth in the NRL for tries. His nine try assists show he's amongst the best ball-playing fullbacks going around as well.
NRL.com's Andy Bryan: "'The Prince of Brookvale' will go down as the finest fullback Manly has ever had, and that is saying something given the proud tradition of the Sea Eagles club. He may have lost a yard of pace, but the wily veteran is still scoring and creating tries with the best of them."
33. Michael Morgan (New entry) – A revelation at fullback for the Cowboys last season, Morgan was moved back to the halves this year and only got better – playing his way into the series-winning Queensland Origin side.
Jack Brady: "The biggest compliment you can give to Morgan is that he has proved to be the perfect foil for Johnathan Thurston – something nobody has been able to achieve since the future Immortal's arrival at the Cowboys in 2005."
32. Josh Morris (36) – A fixture in the centres for NSW, Morris has scored nine tries in 19 games for the Bulldogs this year and is a rock in defence.
Jack Brady: "Morris may not have the attacking prowess of brother Brett but he has still managed to score 98 career tries and remain one of the best defending centres in the game. He is a mainstay in the State of Origin arena due to his ability to shut down Greg Inglis."
31. Mitchell Pearce (New entry) – Pearce earned back his NSW Origin spot this year and has been the key playmaker for the NRL's competition leaders, ranking fifth in the league for try assists and line break assists.
NRL.com's Chris Kennedy: "There is no bigger fan of Mitchell Pearce than Roosters coach Trent Robinson, because he knows exactly what Pearce is always going to deliver for his team week-in, week-out. The additional responsibility of being handed the Roosters captaincy this year has only improved Pearce as a player."
This article first appeared on NRL.com