Damien Cook, James Tedesco and Cameron Smith were among the popular picks.
Damien Cook, James Tedesco and Cameron Smith were among the popular picks.

Revealed: Who is rugby league’s best player

CAMERON Smith might be an Immortal in waiting but rugby league fans don't think he is the best player in the NRL.

Sydney Roosters superstar James Tedesco (39 per cent) has claimed that title after he was voted as the game's best player.

Melbourne Storm hooker Smith was second (29 per cent) in our annual NRL fan survey.

 

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But a modest Tedesco, who won this year's Brad Fittler and Wally Lewis Medals for his performances in State of Origin, believes Smith is still the best player in the world.

CHECK OUT THE FULL RESULTS BELOW

"I don't see myself as that," Tedesco said. "I watch a bit of footy, fullbacks mostly, and there are that many good ones and I don't even think I'm the best fullback.

"Tom Trbojevic, Kalyn Ponga, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck … I watch what they can do and it's a challenge to be at the top when you have guys like.

"I think Smith is best player. He's been the most consistent and been at the top of his game for 10 to 15 years.

Roosters fullback James Tedesco has been almost untouchable this year. Picture: AAP
Roosters fullback James Tedesco has been almost untouchable this year. Picture: AAP

"Guys like that, who have done it for so long, you can put them in the discussion as the best in the game because they do it consistently and have done it so well."

Tedesco was also the first player (28 per cent) fans would sign to build their club around.

And our survey showed that astute recruiting was directly correlated to on-field success.

The best buys of the season belong to the Canberra Raiders, who finished third on the NRL ladder.

He’s made more than 400 appearances but Cameron Smith is still at the top of his game. Picture: AAP
He’s made more than 400 appearances but Cameron Smith is still at the top of his game. Picture: AAP

The most prized recruits were English firebrand John Bateman (23 per cent) and New Zealand revelation Charnze ­Nicoll-Klokstad (22 per cent).

The trend continued for the fifth-placed Parramatta, with Blake Ferguson (15 per cent) and Maika Sivo (11 per cent) next best in the vote.

On the flip side, the season's wooden spooners, the Gold Coast Titans, made the worst signings when they re­­­cruited Tyrone Peachey (25 per cent) and Shannon Boyd (15 per cent).

Canberra’s John Bateman was voted by far the best signing of 2019.
Canberra’s John Bateman was voted by far the best signing of 2019.

2019 NRL FANS SURVEY RESULTS

1. Which NRL team do you support?

Brisbane 23%

Parramatta 9%

Manly 8%

St George Illawarra 8%

Wests Tigers 7%

Sydney Roosters 6%

South Sydney 6%

Cronulla 6%

Canterbury 5%

North Queensland 5%

Melbourne 5%

Canberra 4%

Newcastle 3%

Penrith 3%

Gold Coast 2%

New Zealand 1%

The Broncos are the favoured team among fans. Picture: AAP
The Broncos are the favoured team among fans. Picture: AAP

2. Which rival NRL side do you most love to hate?

Melbourne 25%

Manly 15%

Sydney Roosters 14%

Brisbane 12%

Cronulla 11%

South Sydney 7%

Canterbury 5%

Parramatta 4%

St George Illawarra 2%

Penrith 1%

New Zealand 1%

Canberra 1%

Wests Tigers 1%

Gold Coast 1%

North Queensland 1%

Newcastle 1%

Move over Manly, there’s a new No.1 team to hate. Picture: AAP
Move over Manly, there’s a new No.1 team to hate. Picture: AAP

3. Who is the best player in the game?

James Tedesco 39%

Cameron Smith 28%

Damien Cook 5%

Cooper Cronk 5%

Tom Trbojevic 5%

Cameron Munster 4%

Jason Taumalolo 4%

Cameron Murray 2%

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2%

Kalyn Ponga 2%

Daly Cherry-Evans 1%

Josh Hodgson 1%

Sam Burgess 1%

Luke Keary 1%

4. If you were building a club, who would you sign as your marquee player?

James Tedesco 28%

Cameron Munster 16%

Cameron Smith 13%

Tom Trbojevic 12%

Kalyn Ponga 9%

Jason Taumalolo 7%

Cameron Murray 6%

Luke Keary 4%

Josh Hodgson 3%

Daly Cherry-Evans 3%

5. Where do you see rugby league in five years?

18 teams with two expansion franchises 31%

16 teams, no change 28%

16 teams with one club relocated 26%

18 teams with one club relocated 15%

6. How many teams should there be?

16 41%

18 38%

14 12%

20 9%

Fans want the NRL to bring back the Western Reds. Picture: Verity Chambers
Fans want the NRL to bring back the Western Reds. Picture: Verity Chambers

7. Where should the NRL expand next?

Brisbane 30%

Perth 26%

Central Coast 23%

South-east Queensland 12%

Papua New Guinea 6%

Adelaide 3%

8. What is your favourite NRL match time slot?

Friday 7.50pm 34%

Sunday 4pm 19%

Sunday 2pm 16%

Saturday 5.30pm 11%

Saturday 3pm 10%

Friday 6pm 6%

Thursday 7.50pm 4%

The all-Queensland grand final between Johnathan Thurston’s Cowboys and the Broncos at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in 2015 was a ripper. Picture: Brett Costello
The all-Queensland grand final between Johnathan Thurston’s Cowboys and the Broncos at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in 2015 was a ripper. Picture: Brett Costello

9. Should Queensland host the 2021 NRL grand final?

Yes 54%

No 46%

10. What is the best time to play the grand final?

3pm 51%

5pm 30%

7pm 19%

11. How many teams should contest the NRL finals series?

8 67%

6 21%

5 9%

11 3%

12. Do you like Sunday night Origins?

No 60%

Yes 40%

 

There’s not a lot of fan love for Wayne Bennett.
There’s not a lot of fan love for Wayne Bennett.

13. Other than your current coach, who would you want to coach your club?

Craig Bellamy 58%

Trent Robinson 11%

Wayne Bennett 8%

Ricky Stuart 6%

Des Hasler 5%

Michael Maguire 3%

Nathan Brown 2%

Anthony Seibold 2%

Brad Arthur 1%

Ivan Cleary 1%

Paul Green 1%

Justin Holbrook 1%

Dean Pay 1%

Stephen Kearney 1%

John Morris 1%

Paul McGregor 1%

Sought-after Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Sought-after Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

14. Other than your current coach, who would you least like to coach your club?

Wayne Bennett 15%

Paul McGregor 15%

Ivan Cleary 14%

Anthony Seibold 10%

Stephen Kearney 9%

Ricky Stuart 6%

Nathan Brown 5%

Craig Bellamy 5%

Des Hasler 5%

Dean Pay 4%

Paul Green 3%

Brad Arthur 3%

John Morris 2%

Justin Holbrook 2%

Trent Robinson 1%

Michael Maguire 1%

15. Should the bunker be allowed to rule on forward passes?

Yes, it's an issue 71%

No, the technology won't allow 29%

Rookie winger Maika Sivo.
Rookie winger Maika Sivo.

16. Who is the best buy of the season?

John Bateman 23%

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 22%

Blake Ferguson 15%

Maika Sivo 11%

Scott Drinkwater 7%

Ryan Matterson 5%

Reuben Garrick 5%

David Klemmer 4%

Angus Crichton 4%

Corey Harawira-Naera 3%

James Roberts 3%

17. Who is the worst buy of the season?

Tyrone Peachey 25%

Shannon Boyd 15%

Nene Macdonald 13%

Shaun Johnson 13%

Corey Norman 13%

Jesse Ramien 12%

Dylan Napa 10%

Payne Haas is a runaway favourite to claim rookie of the year honours. Picture: AAP
Payne Haas is a runaway favourite to claim rookie of the year honours. Picture: AAP

18. Who is the rookie of the year?

Payne Haas 48%

Maika Sivo 13%

Bronson Xerri 12%

Ryan Papenhuyzen 9%

Reuben Garrick 6%

Chanel Harris-Tevita 3%

Briton Nikora 3%

Dylan Brown 2%

Brian To'o 2%

Brent Naden 1%

It’s been a forgettable year for the Titans on the Gold Coast. Picture: AAP
It’s been a forgettable year for the Titans on the Gold Coast. Picture: AAP

19. What should the NRL do with the Gold Coast Titans?

Relocate, it's never going to work 51%

Leave them on the Gold Coast 49%

20. Would you allow your child to play junior rugby league?

Yes 81%

No 19%

21. Do negative headlines turn you off from watching NRL?

No 73%

Yes 27%

Voice of the fans, Andrew Voss. Picture: Richard Dobson
Voice of the fans, Andrew Voss. Picture: Richard Dobson

21. Who is your favourite play-by-play caller?

Andrew Voss 32%

Ray Warren 29%

Warren Smith 10%

Ray Hadley 6%

Andrew Moore 6%

David Morrow 5%

Dan Ginnane 5%

Brenton Speed 4%

Anthony Maroon 2%

Matt Thompson 2%

Jimmy Smith 1%

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