The team at Serious About Rugby League recently got together to pick our 2018 World Team of the Year, a team that takes into account players from the NRL and the top three English leagues. We would love to hear your thoughts on it and better still, who would feature in your World Team of the Year?
1. James Tedesco – Sydney Roosters
It’s been quite a good year for many full-backs with the likes of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Roger Tuivavsa-Sheck and Stefan Ratchford deserving of mentions. However, you can’t ignore James Tedesco who had without doubt the best year of his career to date. ‘Teddy’ scored nine tries in 25 games as he helped the Roosters become NRL Premiers and New South Wales win a rare State of Origin series. In the year he made his Kangaroos debut, he was named the Roosters’ Player of the Year and the Blues’ Player of the Series.
2. Tommy Makinson – St Helens
Makinson had a solid year for Saints helping them breeze to the League Leaders’ Shield. He perhaps saved his most impressive displays for England though scoring a hat-trick in the second game of the New Zealand Test Series at Anfield. His biggest achievement of the year though was surely winning the Golden Boot award as International Player of the Year.
3. Bill Tupou – Wakefield Trinity
Some of you may find this a surprise, but surely not Trinity fans who watch Bill Tupou every week. He again helped the club confound their critics by comfortably reaching the top eight, with Tupou ending the the years as Super League’s top metre-maker. The powerhouse centre ran for over 4000 yards and his 14 tries put him in the top 20 try scorers in the league. Elsewhere, Jake Connor also made himself an international star in 2018 and is unlucky not to make our side. He can also play in the halves and could equally have been pocketed that position too.
4. Latrell Mitchell – Sydney Roosters
We make no apologies for including another Rooster in our list and another who starred for the Blues in this year’s Origin Series. Arguably the world’s best centre, Latrell Mitchell has certainly lived up to expectations as the next Greg Inglis and could even surpass him at this rate. Mitchell scored a crucial try in the Roosters’ Grand Final win and capped of a great year by making his debut for Australia against New Zealand.
5. Blake Ferguson – Sydney Roosters
The last Rooster in the backs we promise! Blake Ferguson played the second half of the 2018 NRL Grand Final with a broken leg after an incredible year on the wing for the Premiers. He has put his early career problems behind him to become one of the sport’s most feared wingers, scoring 18 tries in 27 games as he won the Dally M Medal as the top winger in the NRL this year.
6. Cameron Munster – Melbourne Storm
Munster was named best Five Eighth at the Dally M awards as he helped his Storm side reach another Grand Final. At the age of 24 Munster has made himself one of the first names on the team sheet for the Maroons and could well be in the Kangaroos side for the next decade. He played in 24 games for the Storm scoring 4 tries with an impressive 15 assists.
7. Connor Robinson – York City Knights
One of the stories of 2018 was the reemergence of York after financial troubles nearly left the famous City without a Rugby League Club. This maybe a selection from left field, but we couldn’t ignore the progress made with the Knights which was led by League 1 Player of the Year Connor Robinson. The creative half-back scored over 400 points as the Knights pipped Bradford to the League 1 title to return to the Championship, with a place in Super League next on the agenda!
8. Luke Thompson – St Helens
At only 23, Luke Thompson is one of a number of bright young stars on the books at Langtree Park. No prop made more metres in 2018 than Thompson and he also weighed in with six tries. He capped a great year with four appearances for England making a huge impact in all the Test he played in for his country.
9. James Roby – St Helens
There is not much you can say about the legendary Saints No.9 that hasn’t already been written but after a string of fine performances for England in the World Cup, Roby again showed why he is the best hooker of his generation in Super League. Whilst Ben Barba was getting all the plaudits fir the Red V, it was Roby that was the true force in driving the team forward. He was the only Super League player with over 200 dummy runs as he drove his side forward and he made nearly 100o tackles during the campaign.
10. Eddie Battye – London Broncos
Another selection you may find surprising, but Eddie Battye has been one of the most consistent forwards in the Championship for a number of years, been an ever-present for the Broncos in their promotion season. London’s promotion was one of the biggest shocks for some time and Battye played a huge role in their incredible season. He will look now to be a leader for the Broncos as they aim to survive the drop in Super League next season.
11. John Bateman – Wigan Warriors
Bateman will be a loss for both his club and Super League as he moves to the NRL for 2019. He was probably the world’s stand-out second-rower this year with over 3000 metres made, he was very unlucky to miss out on the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award. Super League’s loss is the NRL’s gain and Bateman will undoubtedly be a big hit for the Canberra Raiders in 2019.
12. Angus Crichton – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Crichton’s stand-out performances for the Bunnies saw him picked to play in all three games for the Blues in this year’s State of Origin. Still only 22, the talented young forward made 25 appearances for Souths and will surely be on the verge of a Kangaroos appearance sooner rather than later. Next season he makes the short journey across Sydney to play for the Roosters, a move that has upset many Rabbitohs’ supporters.
13. Jason Taumalolo – North Queensland Cowboys
Taumalolo was again the Cowboys Player of the Year and also won the Dally M award as the leagues best Lock. The Tongan international is widely regarded as the game’s leading forward with pace, power and skill causing defences no end of problems. He averaged over 170 metres in his 23 games for the Cowboys in 2018 and will no doubt continue to be a leading name in the NRL for many years to come.
Coach: Danny Ward – London Broncos
He masterminded the biggest upset of the season as London beat Toronto in Canada to win the Million Pound Game and promotion to Super League. The Broncos achievement is even more incredible considering they lost several of their key players prior to the season, underlining Ward’s ability to improve the existing squad as they comfortably finished in the Championship’s top four. If he can keep London in Super League, don’t be surprised to see ‘Wardy’ named Coach of the Year at the end of 2019 as well.