Another bumper season of rugby league is now done and dusted, which can only mean one thing – team of the year.
It’s been a huge 2018, teams have shone and players excelled. But who has shone the brightest?
As always there’s some surprise inclusions and omissions, but without further adieu here is the 2018 team of the year.
1 Jeremy Gordon (Cowra Magpies)
Individually probably not Gordon's most outstanding season, but what the 2016 Group 10 player of the year has added to the Magpies this winter is much greater than individual brilliance.
Class, power, skill and smarts, Gordon is nigh on the complete No.1 and is a massive reason behind the rise and rise of the swoopers in '18.
2 Jordan Baker (Orange Hawks)
The bolter - underrated winger that scored tries for fun for the two blues.
Undersized but incredibly tough and remarkably brilliant through the air.
3 Joe Lasagavibau (Orange CYMS)
Virtually everything threatening CYMS produced in 2018 was on the back of the elusive Fijian. Just about the best all-round three-quarter in the Group.
4 Bradyn Cassidy (Cowra Magpies)
Landed at Cowra in 2018 to play fullback and ended up in the centres, a position the young, wiry flier had never dabbled in.
He ended the year as the group's leading try-scorer. Outstanding finisher.
5 Jackson Brien (Oberon Tigers)
Probably the most consistent outside back in the group over the course of the last five years. Was again a threat for the Tigers this season.
6 Willie Wright (Bathurst Panthers)
A month out from the finals Wright was virtually unknown – fast forward to September 9 and he’s kicking the winning goal for Panthers in the grand final.
Had to be included. What a finish to 2018.
7 Doug Hewitt (Bathurst Panthers)
Best No.7 in the comp, bar none.
Kicking game is brilliant, his passing sublime and picks the best times to run, but what stands Dougie above all others is his leadership. Makes the players around him better, and that's as big a rap as you can get as a half.
8 Brent Seager (Bathurst Panthers)
The Brent Seager bell-ringer is still very much a thing. Long may that be the case. The 2018 Dave Scott medalist.
9 Benji John (Cowra Magpies)
The former Kumuls gun had a wretched back-end to his stint at St Pats, but has reinvented himself in the black and white.
Knows when to run and is devastatingly powerful around the ruck. Loves the big games.
10 Blake Tidswell (Cowra Magpies)
Underrated by some, but not those at the Magpies.
Carries the Cowra club forward every week with limited fuss. Has stood up against some monster packs all season and gotten the better of all of them - the Group's Grange ... he gets better with age.
11 Rakai Tuheke (Orange Hawks)
Uncompromising. No fuss. All class. Tuheke is the damaging backrower the two blues haven't had since the days of Chris Anau.
12 Josh Rainbow (Cowra Magpies)
Complete player. Worthy winner of the Group 10 player of the year medal.
Would've capped a fine season by captaining the Magpies to a breakthrough premiership but sadly, that wasn’t to be.
Still one of the first-picked in this side though, obviously.
13 Chanse Burgess (Mudgee Dragons)
Probably the most unique footballer in Group 10.
Built and plays like a prop, but charged with doing the bulk of Mudgee’s kicking in general play and then also given a license to throw flick passes and cut-out balls.
Ask any prop what the dream is, and they’ll tell you Chase Burgess is living it.
Lap it up, big fella.
14 Warren Williams (Cowra Magpies)
Love Waz. Had a brilliant year in the No.6 jumper for Cowra.
When he tucks it under his arm and runs, there’s virtually no stopping him. Wonderful to watch.
15 Ethan McKellar (Orange Hawks)
Incredible to think Hawks made it to within a game of the Group 10 grand final sans two of their best forwards.
Nathan Potts missed the bulk of 2018, while McKellar’s untimely injury at the back-end of the year put a huge dent in the two blues’ finals aspirations.
Before that, was a Rams and NSW Country prop.
16 Willie Heta (Orange Hawks)
Arrived in Group 10 last season as one of the best players in bush footy and lived up to that tag in 2018. Very nearly booked the two blues a home grand final off his own back in Cowra with a phenomenal major semi-final outing.
17 Brady Cheshire (Blayney Bears)
Played in the only two games the Bears won this season, and missed a couple of close losses – results Blayney skipper Tim Mortimer is adamant the big, fiery red-head prop would have swung in his team’s favour.
A change in work meant Cheshire couldn’t play every game in 2018, but when he’s on the park he’s easily one of the comp’s best big men.