There have been some vast improvers in 2017. Here are the six players who have come on in leaps and bounds.
Anthony Don (Gold Coast)
Titans winger Anthony Don has been a revelation this year. Regarded as nothing more than a plodder until this year, Don’s speed has improved significantly, as has his elusiveness. It’s his ability in the air, though, that is second to none, while he is matching the mega-hyped Jordan Rapana for most try assists by a winger.
And …..Anthony Don is still my favourite player
— Bryan Fletcher (@bryfletch) May 13, 2017
Ash Taylor has thrown Anthony Don up for Origin and I’m struggling to find a reason to disagree tbh #NRLStormTitans
— Pam Whaley (@PamelaWhaley) May 13, 2017
Coen Hess (North Queensland)
Hess came onto the scene with plenty of raps last year but the back-rower’s development in 2017 has been nothing short of astonishing. No forward in the premiership has his scoring nous – sitting equal first on the NRL’s tryscoring ladder with a bunch of wingers and centres – while he does major damage post-contact. On the verge of an Origin call-up.
— Ralph Tucker (@rtuck17) May 11, 2017
Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra)
Languishing in reserve grade for the Raiders last year, Vaughan has a new lease on life since moving to the Dragons. Arguably the form front-rower of the premiership, Vaughan has been dominant through the middle of the field while showing surprising skill.
— CommentaryBoxSports (@Comm_Box_Sports) May 14, 2017
Nathan Brown (Parramatta)
Heading into this season, Brown was regarded as nothing more than a thuggish journeyman whose greatest strength was laying a cheap shot on. This year, though, he has stepped up as leader of the Eels’ pack with controlled aggression and a huge work-rate.
— Parramatta Eels (@TheParraEels) May 12, 2017
Cameron McInnes (St George Illawarra)
Michael Maguire continued to show faith in Cameron McInnes at Souths until the very end but he just could not find what Maguire saw. A shift to the Dragons has McInnes flying, however, with a potential Origin call-up not out of the reckoning.
Dragons find Cameron McInnes worth waiting for https://t.co/SkDHDWui5o
— Michael Carayannis (@MCarayannis) April 1, 2017
Waqa Blake (Penrith)
A player who had a huge reputation before he even played a minute of first grade, Blake had been a major disappointment until this year. With his confidence up despite the Panthers’ struggles, Blake has been scintillating with the ball in hand, scoring some spectacular tries. A giant of an athlete with searing pace.
Waqa Blake @PenrithPanthers doesn’t know how good a player he can be. Love watching this bloke play.
— Ross Martin (@RossMartin1960) May 13, 2017