Sunday 17 December 2017 / 03:08 PM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: UNDERRATED PLAYERS WHO WILL IMPACT FINALS RACE

With six teams battling it out for the final two spots in the finals, here are six underrated players to keep an eye on.

Bodene Thompson (Warriors)
There is nothing flashy  about Bodene Thompson’s game but in a team that is lacking genuine toughness, the hard-hitting backrower provides it. He runs courageous lines and hits harder than most in the NRL.

Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers)
A hardworking and versatile backrower was exactly what the Tigers needed when they picked up Elijah Taylor midseason and that is what they got. The Tigers have improved significantly since Taylor joined the club, now sitting on the verge of the top eight.

Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast)
A reflection on how poor the Titans are without Roberts was on the weekend when a side that included Jarryd Hayne looked to lack all kinds of direction. Roberts is a smart player with a fine dummy and solid kicking game.

Peter Wallace (Penrith)
Peter Wallace was all but done and dusted as a first grader before coach Anthony Griffin shifted him to hooker. Since donning the No.9 he has been a gritty defender who makes good decisions in the middle of the ruck. It was a genius move from the Panthers coach.

Darcy Lussick (Manly)
Often derided as ‘Decoy Darcy’ for his lack of work ethic, Lussick has found another leg this year. He has eight straight games of 125-plus metres and has progressed into a leadership role at the Sea Eagles. The 27-year-old has really stepped up.

Euan Aitken (St George Illawarra)
The Dragons backline has almost no potency and it certainly isn’t helped by a clumsy halves pairing, but the one bright spot is rising star Aitken. He has pace and a nice step, while his tally of six tries is as good as the Dragons could hope for.

[YouTube – LA Montages]

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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