Few players have enjoyed as rapid a rise in 2017 as Melbourne Storm second-rower Felise Kaufusi.
Prior to this year, all but five of Kafusi’s 38 NRL appearances were from the bench; he averaged 29 minutes of game-time in the Storm’s charge to the 2016 grand final.
But the 25-year-old has played more minutes than any forward (excluding hookers) in the NRL in 2017 – starting every game and averaging 78.2 minutes on the paddock.
Unlucky to miss out on a Queensland Origin debut in the recent Origin series, he’s developed into far more than a durable workhorse, however.
Kaufusi has filled the right-edge hole left by Kiwi Test veteran Kevin Proctor with aplomb, scoring seven tries this year, all in a remarkable eight-game mid-season stretch.
The Auckland-born Tongan international also has 10 line-breaks, 23 tackle-breaks and three try-assists to his name this season. Check out his best work so far from a breakout campaign.