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Experts' view: Most underrated player

The NRL has some wonderful players who deservedly gather plenty of headlines and video streams.

But these big names would be the first to tell you of their unsung teammates who do all the little things that allow the stars to shine.

These players fill a range of positions and do a range of things that might not appear on stats sheets but play important roles in teams winning matches.

With this in mind, the experts at has come up with their selection for the most underrated player in the Telstra Premiership.

Experts' view - Who's most underrated in NRL

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

Herbie Farnworth gives 100 per cent every week he just goes about his job and does the little things. They mean a lot to the team but go generally unnoticed by most fans.

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Brett Kimmorley (Former Test halfback)

Jazz Tevaga. His emotions sometimes get the better of him, but Tevaga is one of those players who leads via his actions. He never backs down and never stops trying. Every team needs players like this.

Jamie Soward (Premiership winner)

Jahrome Hughes for me is now just one of the most underrated players, he's also one of the best. Never gets the full recognition of how good his transformation has been to the No.7 jersey. Plays with control and skill and patience.

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Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers great)

Api Koroisau. He doesn't get the credit he deserves for his work in the No.9 jersey. But the other Penrith players know just how crucial he is to their premiership hopes.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League) 

Christian Welch may have played for Queensland, but compared to other front-rowers, Welch does not seem to get the credit he deserves. If you ask the average footy fan who the best front-rower in the game is, few would select Welch. They should.

Brad Walter ( senior reporter)

Joey Manu. Regarded as the No.1 centre in the NRL, Manu has become the Mr. Fix-It for the Roosters and whether he is playing fullback, five-eighth or centre, he's always one of the best players on the field.

Paul Suttor ( editor)

Jazz Tevaga does so much of the grunt work for the Warriors it’s not funny. The prototype of how a lock should play in the six-again era, his efforts have kept the team in many games and it’s not his fault the Warriors are still hot and cold each week.

Alicia Newton ( reporter)

The service Reed Mahoney provides for his halves is often undervalued and an area the Eels struggle with when he’s out injured. Mahoney was a tackling machine in his debut year but has now added several elements in attack for the side. 

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Paul Zalunardo ( senior journalist)

Jahrome Hughes. This guy has gone from a cast-off to one of the first names on the teamsheet at the best side in the NRL. He plays his role perfectly in attack, but perhaps most importantly is a very strong defender. A few other sides would love No.7s who tackle the way he does.

Laine Clark ( reporter)

Tyson Gamble. The playmaker's game may need some more polish but his grunt and cheek add much-needed spark to a Broncos outfit needing just that. His round 16 niggling act against Cronulla helped prove the difference.

Martin Lenehan ( senior journalist)

Alex Johnston goes about his business with a minimum of fuss and fanfare, so much so that the Rabbitohs considered letting the quiet achiever go last year. While Josh Addo-Carr and Tom Trbvojevic steal the headlines for their tryscoring feats, Johnston has racked up 22 tries in 16 games in 2021, taking his career tally to a staggering 131 in 161 games.

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Zac Bailey ( reporter)

Knights hooker Jayden Brailey does the hard work in defence (second on the season tackle count with 769 with a 96 per cent tackle efficiency), provides quality service from dummy-half, can run when needed, has a good close-to-the-line kicking game and captains the team to boot.

Chris Kennedy ( reporter)

As much as it’s possible for a player who’s played 16 Tests for a tier-one nation to be underrated, Tohu Harris doesn't get the acknowledgement he deserves for how much good stuff he does for the Warriors. His work rate is immense and they miss him deeply when he’s out.

Dan Walsh ( reporter)

Dylan Edwards. The spotlight shines elsewhere at Penrith but his rise from a miserable Bathurst night a few years ago when his confidence was shot to pieces has been remarkable. Has averaged almost five tackle busts a game when injuries have let him take the field this year.

Troy Whittaker ( reporter)

It might sound peculiar, but Ben Hunt - a Maroons and Kangaroos representative who is among the game’s highest-paid players - doesn’t get the credit he deserves. While the Dragons captain is often an unfair target, he has been in fantastic form this season and is the glue of his team.

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Lone Scout ( Fantasy guru)

He’s closing in on a decade in the league but Tohu Harris remains one of the NRL’s unsung gems. Nobody has a better work rate - he ranked third among forwards for metres gained last year and first among non-hookers for tackles this season - and he brings class, experience and subtle playmaking skills. 

Kenny Scott ( podcaster)

Corey Thompson. Out of sight out of mind a few years ago in England, he is one of the most reliable wingers in the game. He is a great finisher when needed in attack but also throws his small frame into defence, with no thought of self-preservation, when he has to as well. Players like him are the fabric of a good team.


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The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.

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