Tigani's Top Ten: Group 21 Rugby League players for the 2019 season

TWO OF THE BEST: Teenager James Bradley pictured with NRL premiership player Frank Paul Nu'uausala at the Singleton Greyhounds' season launch.
TWO OF THE BEST: Teenager James Bradley pictured with NRL premiership player Frank Paul Nu'uausala at the Singleton Greyhounds' season launch.

The Singleton Argus has released its official top ten Group 21 Rugby League players list this morning following the opening fortnight of the season.

Sports reporter Alex Tigani has partnered up with Jye Bayley and Alex Ferrie who are both key figures within the Singleton Greyhounds' coaching staff.

Though a few Singleton Greyhounds were unlucky not to make the cut a total of four would feature in the top five.

The league's current leading try-scorer Timothy Smith (Scone) was unlucky not to make the final cut.

10. Justin Apthorpe (Scone)

Scone's JJ Apthorpe celebrating his premiership victory. (Photo supplied)

Scone's JJ Apthorpe celebrating his premiership victory. (Photo supplied)

Position: Centre

Scone fans may scoff upon learning that their hero landed the final spot on the list at the 11th hour.

However the big strong and fast centre held off teammate (and the league's leading try-scorer) Timothy Smith when landing the final spot.

Expert says: "JJ is a big strong fast centre and his ability to beat defenders on the edge is his strength and it hits hard in defence," Singleton Greyhounds first-grade coach Jye Bayley said.

9. Liam Foran (Aberdeen)

NRL star one second, Group 21 premiership hero the next for Liam Foran.

NRL star one second, Group 21 premiership hero the next for Liam Foran.

Position: Halfback

The youngsters of the Upper Hunter may not be old enough to remember Liam Foran at NRL level.

In 2008 the (then) 20-year-old lined up for the Melbourne Storm alongside greats Billy Slater and Cameron Smith for three games before venturing to the Sea Eagles the following decade where he would play a further seven.

Expert says: "He's very fast around the ruck, very good with the ball and one of the most skilful in the league due to his NRL experience," Jye Bayley.

8. Daniel Hoogerwerf (Aberdeen)

Hoogerwerf worth considering for the this list.

Hoogerwerf worth considering for the this list.

Position: Hooker

One of the most athletic to sprint out of dummy half in the region.

"He's very crafty around the ruck and he's a really good defender; you'll struggle to get around him," Jye Bayley.

7. Daniel Ritter (Scone)

Daniel Ritter representing his Greater Northern Tigers' side in 2014.

Daniel Ritter representing his Greater Northern Tigers' side in 2014.

Position: Lock

Here's another campaigner with a wealth of success and representative experience.

A starting Lock in any of the league's four outfits.

Expert says: "He's a tough man in the middle, he goes forward constantly all day for Scone and he's just one of those blokes who you can rely on week in and week out," Jye Bayley.

6. Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton)

Nieuwenhuise, in the middle of the street.

Nieuwenhuise, in the middle of the street.

Position: Fullback

On the field, on of the finest competitors in the league.

Off the field, hold just as much respect from his peers.

The Singleton Greyhounds' 2017 player of the year is extremely unlucky not to make the top five however proves to be one to watch after a successful summer at representative level.

Expert says: "He'll just continue to compete on every play and his speed and dedication is the same week in and week out for us," Jye Bayley.

5. Thomas Johnson (Singleton)

Thomas Johnson was the man of the match in Round 1 this year.

Thomas Johnson was the man of the match in Round 1 this year.

Position: Lock

If you're not sold on the theory that Thomas Johnson is an absolute workhorse then I suggest you review the Greyhounds' season opener.

Affectionately known as 'TJ', the club hero scored three tries against Denman at Pirtek Park to take out the man of the match honours in the 26-16 win.

Expert says: "He's one of those blokes who will make 50 tackles in the middle and then when there is something special needed he'll come up with a break out of nowhere," Jye Bayley.

4. James Bradley (Singleton)

James Bradley in discussion with Canterbury Bulldogs' official Gareth Holmes.

James Bradley in discussion with Canterbury Bulldogs' official Gareth Holmes.

Position: Five-Eighth

He took out his club's top honour last year and he's still a teenager.

Considered the most talented first-grade player in the Group 21 league who is yet to play an NRL game.

Expert says: One of those blokes who is just naturally talented," Jye Bayley.

"He's very light on his feet and has a very good balance.

"He's very skillful with the ball and just one of those boys who just looks like he doesn't have to try too hard.

"He's taken us a step up in his game in leading us around the park and, as he continues to grow this year, we want him to take more control of the side."

3. Chad Redman (Singleton)

Redman by name, Red-dog by nature.

Redman by name, Red-dog by nature.

Position: Hooker

Redman by name, Red-dog by nature in season 2019.

One of four players on this list to have played at the game's highest level yet still remains a darkhorse for the league's MVP award.

Redman played a handful of games for both the Newcastle Knights and the Gold Coast Titans in years past however his focus is now on ending Singleton's premiership drought at local level.

Expert says: "His biggest attribute to Singleton this year has been his organisation and his craftiness around the ruck," Jye Bayley.

"That's shown the difference in our game this year particularly in Round 1 however Round 2 was a little difficult cause it was in the wet."

2. Adam Clydsdale (Scone)

Adam Clydsdale pictured at top level.

Adam Clydsdale pictured at top level.

Position: Hooker

For Redman to climb further up the list he must first establish himself as the best fit for his position.

For the time being we will grant that title to former Newcastle Knight, Canberra Raider and Cronulla Shark Adam Clydsdale.

This season marks the homecoming for the former Scone junior and, if he is able to make a statement against Singleton in a few weeks time, he may even be worthy of the top spot on this list.

Until then, there has to be a bridesmaid and this one just happens to be one of the most professional and dynamic to watch across the CRL.

Expert says: "He's very fast out of dummy half and very smart and creative and that's what makes him a very good number-nine," Jye Bayley.

1. Frank Paul Nu'uausala (Singleton)

The new king of the region, Singleton's Frank Paul Nu'uausala.

The new king of the region, Singleton's Frank Paul Nu'uausala.

Position: Second Row

There are three certainties in life.

Death, taxes and Frank Paul Nu'uausala holding the number-one mantle on this list.

The 32-year-old played in his 155th and final game for the Sydney Roosters last year and was honoured as one of the franchise's 2013 NRL premiership heroes.

If that wasn't enough the monstrous second rower also had stints with the Canberra Raiders (2015-16) and the Wigan Warriors (2016-17).

And did we mention the New Zealander's 15 appearances (and five tries) at International level?

Nu'uausala plays anywhere in the forward pack, predominantly lock or second row and is the Singleton Argus' number-one player to watch.

Expert says: "What makes him good on the field is that he's a strong ball runner, great defender and his nickname in the NRL was 'Frank the wrecking-ball' which sums him up," Jye Bayley said.

"Frank in the first two rounds lead from the front when it was needed.

"In the first round he saved two tries which not a lot of people picked up on and then in the next game he was trying 100% until the last minute to get us forward in what was a pretty rough game."

Previous 2019 top ten lists by Alex Tigani (Singleton Argus) include: