Officially at the halfway point of the NRL season, who have been the top performers so far
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113359573/-

2019-06-11 21:01:43

OPINION: Round 13 is in the books and with it the first half of the 2019 NRL season.

There have been some surprise standouts, and some usual suspects leading the way so far..

But it's been a season to forget for the Warriors to date - and much of the Kiwi contingent playing in Australia also.

So how many make the list? Here's a look at the NRL team of the year so far;

Fullback - Kalyn Ponga, Knights.

He was always going to be a star since his Mackay State High School highlights went viral some five years ago - and 2019 has been a breakout year for Ponga.

The electric Maroons fullback has set the competition alight over the opening 13 rounds of play and after finishing 2018 runner up to Dally M Medal winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, looks likely to push for the coveted gong again this season.

Currently ranks fifth in the competition for line breaks and second overall for points scored.

Wing - Ken Maumalo, Warriors

New deal new Ken, it's been a monster year so far for the big left winger.

Maumalo has always been a metre-eater and this season it has been more of the same in that department, but he's also made noticeable strides in improving his defence and ability to defuse high bombs.

He's also managed to find the line with regularity this season, scoring eight tries already.

Centre - Latrell Mitchell, Roosters

His Origin performance left plenty scratching their heads, but Mitchell's form at NRL level over the first half of the season has been nothing short of sensational.

It's impossible for the young powerhouse not to draw comparisons to a young Greg Inglis, but make no mistake Mitchell is his own player and has made plenty of good centres look ordinary in recent weeks.

A handy goal kicker too, he currently leads the NRL point-scorers list.

Five-eighth - Cameron Munster, Storm

Melbourne just can't miss - Slater and Cronk move on and they unearth Munster.

Tipped as a Dally M favourite pre-season, he has certainly lived up to that and is one of the most influential players at any position in the game right now.

Halfback - Mitchell Pearce, Knights

Five straight man of the match efforts have highlighted a stellar start to 2019 for the former Rooster and current Dally M points leader.

Pearce has wound back the clock this season and together with Ponga, has powered the Knights into NRL relevancy.

Always a gifted game manager, it's been the 30-year-old's kicking and running game that have stood out so far, making him the competition's form player.

Prop - Martin Taupau, Sea Eagles

In a side struggling, Taupau has been a consistent performer for Manly and has taken his overall game to another level in recent weeks.

He ranks fifth for total runs and run metres, and is also third for post contact metres.

Taupau is also getting through some much bigger minutes than previous seasons.

Hooker - Damien Cook, Rabbitohs

The best number nine in the game is having another stellar season and has quickly become a major part of what the Rabbitohs do.

Pure speed from the base, Cook leads the NRL for dummy half runs with 103 - the next closest is Cameron Smith with 69.

A constant threat who has been terrorising tired middle forwards all year.

Second-row - Sam Burgess

Burgess still has a penalty or two in his game, but his impact any given week more than makes up for any indiscipline.

The English international has been one of South Sydney's best all season and is in the competition's top five for post contact metres as well as total hit-ups.

But it's on the defensive side of the ball where slammin' Sam has had his biggest impact.

Lock - Jason Taumalolo, Cowboys

Unstoppable, that's probably the best way to describe the 2016 Dally M Medallist's form of late.

The former Kiwi turned Tongan international is averaging over 210m per game this year to go with his 34 tackle breaks.

Interchange;

Brandon Smith, Storm

David Klemmer, Knights

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Raiders

John Bateman, Raiders

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