Melbourne Storm superstars Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk both feature in our NRL top 10.
Photo: Getty Images
State of Origin is over for another year, and the NRL's best players are once again focused on the premiership race. But just who are the best of the best when it comes to rugby league in Australia?
We've put our heads together to come up with the 50 best players in the NRL – the ones you'd pick first if you were putting together a team today.
It wasn't easy, and there were plenty of big-name casualties. Players to miss out on the list include NSW centre Michael Jennings and halfback Mitchell Pearce; Titans stars Jamal Idris, Luke Bailey and Scott Prince; Broncos playmaker Peter Wallace; rising front-rowers Sam Kasiano, Tim Grant and Aaron Woods; former NSW fullback Josh Dugan and Newcastle Knights stars Danny Buderus and Jarrod Mullen.
The top 50 includes five Dally M medal winners, all 17 Kangaroos players involved in this year's Australia-New Zealand Test, plus six New Zealand internationals and four England internationals. Thirty players in the list have played in this year's State of Origin series, 15 from each state.
Fifteen of the 16 NRL clubs are represented in the list. Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds is the only rookie to make the cut.
BigPond Sport's top 50 players in the NRL
50. Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)
49. Gareth Widdop (Storm & England)
48. Darius Boyd (Knights, Queensland & Australia)
47. Jason Nightingale (Dragons & New Zealand)
46. Matt Gillett (Broncos & Queensland)
45. Nate Myles (Titans & Queensland)
44. Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs)
43. Ben Hannant (Broncos & Queensland)
42. Sika Manu (Storm & New Zealand)
41. Terry Campese (Raiders)
40. Akuila Uate (Knights, NSW & Australia)
39. Brent Tate (Cowboys & Queensland)
38. Kurt Gidley (Knights)
37. Feleti Mateo (Warriors)
36. Brett Morris (Dragons & NSW)
35. Shaun Johnson (Warriors & New Zealand)
34. Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles, NSW & Australia)
33. Corey Parker (Broncos & Queensland)
32. Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
31. Josh Morris (Bulldogs & NSW)
30. Dave Taylor (Rabbitohs, Queensland & Australia)
29. Greg Bird (Titans & NSW)
28. Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs & England)
27. Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles & New Zealand)
26. Issac Luke (Rabbitohs & New Zealand)
25. Gareth Ellis (Wests Tigers & England)
24. Tariq Sims (Cowboys)
23. Matt Scott (Cowboys, Queensland & Australia)
22. Tony Williams (Sea Eagles & NSW)
21. Luke Lewis (Panthers, NSW & Australia)
20. Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles & NSW)
19. James Graham (Bulldogs & England)
18. Ben Barba (Bulldogs)
17. Sam Thaiday (Broncos, Queensland & Australia)
16. Jarryd Hayne (Eels & NSW)
15. Matt Bowen (Cowboys)
14. Justin Hodges (Broncos, Queensland & Australia)
13. James Tamou (Cowboys, NSW & Australia)
12. Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles & Australia)
11. Jamie Lyon (Sea Eagles)
10. Glenn Stewart (Sea Eagles, NSW & Australia)
9. Robbie Farah (West Tigers & NSW)
8. Todd Carney (Sharks & NSW)
7. Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers & New Zealand)
6. Cooper Cronk (Storm, Queensland & Australia)
5. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys, Queensland & Australia)
4. Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs, Queensland & Australia)
3. Paul Gallen (Sharks, NSW & Australia)
2. Cameron Smith (Storm, Queensland & Australia)
1. Billy Slater (Storm, Queensland & Australia)
The Melbourne Storm may have three players in the top 10 but reigning premiers Manly are the most represented team in our list, with seven inclusions. The one club to miss out on a single entry in the list is the Sydney Roosters.
How do you rate our top 50? Let us know (politely) on Twitter @bigpondsport or on Facebook.
Want more lists? Check out our ranking of the best 50 cricketers in Australia.