The NRL will soon be ready for round one, but which halfbacks will be staking their claim to be the best in the competition?
Below is our current top five, in descending order…
5. Daly Cherry-Evans
The Manly skipper had a superb 2019, but fell somewhat short in 2020 with fellow playmakers Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker out injured for a lot of the year. That meant the 31-year-old was under a lot of pressure to perform, yet he still finished with six tries, 20 try assists and 17 linebreak assists.
4. George Williams
After joining from Super League side Wigan, much was expected of George Williams, but his impact could not have been more impressive. With seven tries and 15 try assists, the halfback helped run the show for Canberra even in the absence of hooker Josh Hodgson.
3. Adam Reynolds
Souths’ number seven was made captain ahead of the 2020 season, and that seemed to spur the 30-year-old on to one of his best years in the NRL. With eight try assists and ten linebreak assists, Reynolds finished the year as the NRL’s top point-scorer with 221.
2. Jahrome Hughes
Melbourne’s lynchpin wasn’t even in the number seven shirt before 2020, but Jahrome Hughes’s swap from fullback to the halves was a match made in heaven. The 26-year-old scored seven tries and made 15 tries, but it was his overall control and quality that proved key in propelling the Storm to a fourth NRL title.
1. Nathan Cleary
It couldn’t really be anyone but Nathan Cleary after such a massive 2020 season. The halfback led Penrith to the minor premiership and almost to a first premiership since 2003, but the Panthers just lost out. Just 22, Cleary scored eight tries, assisted 17 others and made 11 linebreak assists in what truly was a coming-of-age year.