Daley's pick: Top 10 best players in ruby league right now

It's been a tough assignment this one, coming up with who I think are the Top 10 best players in the game, not because of who I've included but because of who I've had to leave out. One or two might surprise you but here they are - my best 10 in order.

Voted as the number one player by Laurie Daley for his ability to cover ground quickly, Roosters' James Tedesco runs the ball during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match against the Canberra Raiders. Photo: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Voted as the number one player by Laurie Daley for his ability to cover ground quickly, Roosters' James Tedesco runs the ball during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match against the Canberra Raiders. Photo: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

1. James Tedesco

"He is the competition's most dangerous player..."

In my opinion, he is the competition's most dangerous player with his ability to cover ground quickly and turn up in the right position at the right time Billy Slater-like. He just knows where it's all happening on the footy field and turns up where it's needed, whether it be sniffing for an opportunity around the ruck or sweeping out the back. His passing game and ability to direct the Roosters' defence from the back has improved enormously. He is a wonderful player and it's now just about him staying at this level for the next few years.

2. Jason Taumalolo

"By the end of his career, he might rival the great halfback [Jonathan Thurston]"

I believe he can be one of the greatest forwards the game has ever seen. His numbers have been extraordinary and to do what he has consistently done now for the past four years has been phenomenal. He carries the ball strongly, regularly making over 200 metres, plays long minutes, is powerful, can create momentum for his team or be devastating off the back of momentum. He is just a great forward and I never thought I'd say anyone would be a better player for the Cowboys than Jonathan Thurston but by the end of his career, he might rival the great halfback.

3. Tom Trbojevic

"One of the game's great talents..."

His ranking might surprise a lot of people, but I just think he is one of the game's great talents. He is still learning about fullback play but he is big and strong and when he nails it which I'm sure he will, he will be spoken about as one of our greats. He works really well with his brother Jake and halfback Dally Cherry-Evans at Manly and returns the ball from the back of the field as good as anyone including Tedesco. When forwards get tired through the middle, he's near impossible to stop. He just needs a run of luck with injuries to take his game to another level.

4. Cameron Smith

"Still the smartest player in the comp between the ears..."

Smith still has more influence over a game than any other player and while he might not be as sharp as he once was, he is still the smartest player in the comp between the ears. His ability to build pressure, to select the right play at the right moment and his composure when it comes to execution is second to none. It's hard to believe that after more than 400 NRL games, he still always seems to have time to do what he wants.

5. Jack Wighton

"A dynamic player..."

He showed everyone in the grand final last year just what a dynamic player he is. He is not a ball-playing five-eighth but he is such a great runner of the football that he is a threat whenever he has it in his hands. Everything about his game including his kicking has improved out of sight and defensively, he's sensational - he whacks them in defence so he is now one of the game's elite players in my book.

6. Payne Haas

"He has a massive future in the game..."

I've never seen a young frontrower come onto the scene like this bloke has. He is right out of the Taumalolo mould. For a 20-year-old to be consistently playing big minutes, taking 20 hit-ups a game and very rarely getting caught out in defence, he has a massive future in the game. Every time I see him play and look at his work-rate and think of his age, I just shake my head.

7. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

"He is a huge threat with his brilliant footwork..."

This bloke probably suffers a little bit because he's playing in a struggling team like the Warriors and not with one of the big Sydney clubs but make no mistake, he is a superstar. One of the most dangerous kick returners in the game, he is a huge threat with his brilliant footwork and a mark of how good he is has to be the fact the focus of every rival game plan when teams come up against the Warriors is to try and limit his impact.

8. David Fifita

"One of the game's hottest properties..."

Wow, this bloke is already a dynamo but I reckon we have only just scratched the surface with him. He is young and still raw but I reckon he has the world at his feet. Even though he is a different type of player, he reminds me of Bradley Clyde because of his speed and how powerfully he carries the footy. No surprise he is one of the game's hottest properties.

9. Cam Murray

"You'll never see him cut a corner..."

There will be those who are surprised this bloke has made my top 10 but I'm a huge Cam Murray fan because I think he is just the complete player. He does all the little things great that many people don't see and you'll never see him cut a corner. He's a workaholic, great defender and the type of player a club builds its culture around. A future captain of Souths for sure.

10. Kalyn Ponga

"Left me shaking my head at how good he is going to be..."

One of the most highly talented and exciting players we have seen in a long time and he is just going to get better and better the more experience he gets. Consistency will be the key for him going forward because we have seen plenty of glimpses of what he is capable of and it's left me shaking my head at how good he is going to be.

This story Daley's top 10 best players in the game first appeared on The Canberra Times.