Top 50 players in the NRL: Part 2
NRL.com's countdown of the best players in the league continues as we reach the top 40.
Several new faces have made this year's list, while a few big-name stars have slid down the rankings after quieter-than-usual seasons.
Here are the players we've ranked 40-31, with the next batch of 10 names to arrive next week on NRL.com.
40. Josh McGuire (2015 rank: N/A)
The Brisbane prop had already represented Queensland at Origin level and Samoa in the World Cup (at hooker of all places) but his rep career took a giant leap with selection for the Kangaroos in 2016. One of the hardest-working big men in the game, McGuire has made more metres this season than any of his star-studded Broncos teammates.
39. Robbie Farah (2015 rank: 11)
Last season Robbie Farah was pushing for a place in NRL.com's top 10; this year he's fallen out of the Wests Tigers' first-grade 17. Still, the NSW hooker remains one of the most dominant rakes in the game – a fact which didn't gel with Jason Taylor's gameplan at the Tigers. Strong out of dummy-half and with a quality kicking game, Farah is also a tireless defender – no player played more minutes or made more tackles for the Blues in this year's State of Origin series.
38. Ben Barba (2015 rank: N/A)
After three underwhelming seasons, Ben Barba is back. The Sharks fullback is coming off his best campaign since his Dally M-winning season in 2012 and while he hasn't quite matched the level of dominance he achieved that year the numbers prove he's again amongst the NRL's elite. Barba ranks first in the league for try saves and sits in the NRL's top five for try assists and in the top 10 for tries and line breaks.
37. Trent Merrin (2015 rank: 46)
While young guns Bryce Cartwright, Matt Moylan and Nathan Cleary have grabbed the headlines this season it's a new face who has helped laid the foundation for the Panthers' 2016 revival. Trent Merrin has been a rock in the middle of the park for Penrith, ranking seventh in the league for runs and run metres as well as sitting in the top 20 for tackles.
36. Brett Morris (2015 rank: 22)
Injury curtailed Morris's season but the seasoned campaigner remains a lethal player on the wing, instantly making an impact upon his return to the Bulldogs side with 10 tries in his first eight games back from injury.
35. James Tamou (2015 rank: N/A)
The departing Cowboys prop remains is a regular face in the Kangaroos and NSW sides and is a key part of North Queensland's fearsome forward pack, ranking among the top 25 metre-eaters in the league in 2016.
34. Wade Graham (2015 rank: N/A)
Graham finally received the State of Origin call-up many had been waiting for this year, and has been a crucial cog in the Sharks' rise up the table this season. A Cronulla captain in the making, Graham does all the little things right and plays with the intensity needed to become a long-term Blues prospect.
33. Josh Dugan (2015 rank: 16)
The Dragons fullback hasn't enjoyed a great season at club level but remains a walk-up starter for his state and country, with a dangerous running game and the defensive ability to hold his own in the front line at centre. Even in a quiet season at club level he's ranked third in the NRL for average metres gained in 2016.
32. Tohu Harris (2015 rank: N/A)
One of the big improvers in the rankings this season, Tohu Harris has stepped out of the shadow of his big-name Storm teammates with a super impressive season, both in the forward pack and when filling in at centre. The New Zealand international has runs great attacking lines off Melbourne's playmakers, picking up eight tries this season, and among edge second-rowers he ranks first in the league for runs and second for support runs.
31. Josh Papalii (2015 rank: N/A)
One of the stars of Canberra's rise from erratic entertainers to genuine title contenders, Josh Papalii started in the second row for Australia against New Zealand in May and played in both Queensland's State of Origin wins this year. One of the most destructive wide-running second-rowers – and hardest hitting defenders – in the league today.