For all you stats-lovers out there, here’s the most comprehensive list available of the players set to make an imprint on the record books in 2016.
After an injury-wrecked campaign this year, the Melbourne Storm fullback enters 2016 just eight tries shy of Steve Menzies’ career tally of 180 – second in premiership history behind Ken Irvine (212). Slater managed just two tries from seven games in 2015, only the second time in his career he had crossed less than 10 times in a season.
Slater also needs to play 23 games to become the 24th player to break the 300-game barrier, the 10th to do it for one club and the second from Melbourne to reach the milestone. Club-mate Cooper Cronk (275 games) is also a chance of reaching 300 appearances if the Storm go deep into the finals.
In 2015 ‘The Beast’ became the first player in premiership history to notch 10 tries in 10 consecutive seasons – despite injuries restricting him to just 16 appearances. Currently sitting in 12th spot on the list of all-time try-scorers with 146, Vatuvei has the opportunity to charge up the leaderboard next year. If he maintains his career average of 13 touchdowns, Big Manu could climb as high as seventh, overtaking the likes of Bob Fulton, Harold Horder and Nathan Merritt.
Josh and Brett Morris
The Canterbury centre needs just one try to become the 66th player in history to score 100 premiership tries. He will join twin brother Brett and father Steve in the exclusive club in a unique family achievement. Brett needs just one more try to equal his dad’s mark of 122 first-grade tries. Meanwhile, Josh (196 games) and Brett (185) are both on course to break the 200-game barrier during 2015; Steve made 247 first-grade appearances.
Steve Matai and Jason Nightingale
Manly centre Steve Matai (89 tries) and St George Illawarra winger Jason Nightingale (86) are the only other players with a realistic chances of getting to the 100-try mark next year. The Kiwi internationals would become the fourth players to reach the milestone for their respective clubs. Meanwhile, Nightingale needs only three games to become the fourth player to bring up 200 appearances for the Dragons joint venture.
The Manly skipper is 23 games away from the 300-game mark, while he needs just 10 games to break into the top 10 for games played for the Sea Eagles; Lyon’s former co-captain, Jason King, is in 10th spot with 217 appearances. Lyon also requires just 64 points to become just the 17th player ever to score 1,500 in first grade; a tally of 206 points would see him become only the second player to reach that figure for Manly.
The Cronulla recruit needs 207 points (which he has done in each of the past three seasons) in 2016 to reach 1,500 in his career. Over the next couple of seasons, Maloney could be on course to become the first player in history to notch 500 points for three clubs – he amassed 547 for the Warriors and 736 for the Roosters. Currently, Ron Giteau holds a unique niche in the pantheon of premiership point-scorers as the only player to tally 300-plus for three clubs.
Veteran Dragons forward Creagh only requires seven appearances to break Ben Hornby’s record for the most games ever in the famous Red V.
With 1,799 points to his name, the greatest pointscoring forward in premiership history has Eric Simms (1,841 points), Graham Eadie (1,917) and Mick Cronin (1,971) in his sights next year. If Smith overtakes that illustrious trio, he would climb into fifth spot on the all-time point-scorers list.
Smith has played 309 NRL games, meaning he is odds-on to finish 2016 in sixth on the all-time appearances register, which would also to take him into third for most games for one club. This year, Smith became the first player in history to play 20-plus games in 13 consecutive seasons.
The Kangaroos captain also boast 43 Tests, so he needs only four more to move into second spot behind Darren Lockyer (59 Tests) on the list of most Tests for Australia.
Thurston, who has scored 1,794 points and topped 200 in each of the last two seasons, is a more realistic chance of cracking the top-five of all time in 2016, while he could also move ahead of Daryl Halligan (2,034 points) into fourth. Thurston requires 246 points to become the third player in history to bring up 2,000 points for one club, and needs just 11 more appearances to become the second player to bring up 250 for the Cowboys.
The evergreen forward has played 323 games for Brisbane; due to representative commitments, he will likely end up fourth on the all-time appearances register by the end of 2016, behind Darren Lockyer (355 games), Terry Lamb (350) and Steve Menzies (349).
Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering
Warriors talisman Johnson is just 132 points behind Stacey Jones’ modest club record of 674 career points, while he is only five tries away from becoming the eighth Warrior to score 50 in first grade. Jones’ appearances record of 261 is also under threat from Warriors captain Simon Mannering, who has played 236 games for the club.
Meanwhile, Johnson may also get a crack at Matthew Ridge’s all-time mark of 168 Test points for New Zealand during the Four Nations – Johnson already has 134 points from just 14 Tests for the Kiwis.
The 250-game club
Injuries and form permitting, Michael Ennis (247 games), John Sutton (246), Benji Marshall (239), Luke Douglas (239), Robbie Farah (238), Simon Mannering (236), Sam Perrett (235) and Sam Thaiday (232) should all join the 250-game club, while Dene Halatau (226) is also a chance.
The prolific goalkicking centre is just 90 points away from David Furner’s Canberra pointscoring record of 1,218, while he needs only eight tries to move ahead of Laurie Daley (87) into third place on the Raiders’ try-scorers list behind Jason Croker (120) and Brett Mullins (105).
William Zillman and David Mead
Zillman requires 18 appearances to become just the third player to bring up 150 for the Titans, while Mead is 21 games shy of that mark. Mark Minichiello (173) and Luke Bailey (150) occupy the top two spots on the Titans’ appearances register.
Three more games would see the oft-maligned playmaker become just the eighth player to bring up 200 appearances for Newcastle.
SKD will become only the sixth player in the Sydney Roosters’ 108-year history to bring up 200 appearances for the club when he plays his fourth game of 2016.
If he takes the field in 2016, the 36-year-old Lauitiiti will break Ruben Wiki’s record (35 years and 250 days) as the oldest player in the Warriors’ history. More remarkably, the 1998 debutant’s premiership career would span to 19 seasons – second in the history of the game behind St George and Norths enforcer Billy Wilson, whose career spanned 20 seasons (1948-67).