You could make the case that the Woodbridge Cup has been the most captivating rugby league tournament in the Central West this winter. But, you don't get red hot title races without unreal players. Let's have a look at the 10 most dominant so far.
1 - LUKE PETRIE
The former premiership winner at CYMS is one of the more credentialed players in the Cup this season, and he's certainly playing like it.
Luke Petrie's presence has elevated Manildra's game several notches as the Rhinos sit firmly in second positions and are the only team to take competition points off Canowindra.
As far as halfbacks go, Petrie is as well-rounded as you'll see out here.
He'd have more try assists than any player in the competition so far, and he's not afraid to tuck the Steeden and take the line on.
If the Woodbridge Cup counted MVP votes, this man would be a clear-cut number one.
2 - RONALD LAWRENCE
You won't find a craftier big man than Ronald Lawrence.
The bush footy veteran might have the best ball skills out of anyone in his side, and he's constantly providing his teammates with the chance to play second-phase footy.
If you don't wrap the ball up when he's running, he'll almost always get the arm free, and he's a serious threat to put a fellow forward through a hole at the line.
He doesn't have the barnstorming carries that a Whatman or a Duncombe might have, but he's the maestro of the middle at Tom Clyburn Oval.
3 - BLAKE RIDGES
Described by his peers as one of the most resilient blokes in Trundle, Blake Ridges is a beast in the middle of the field.
He won't break the line 3-4 times a game, but you'd better bring a convoy if you want to take him to the ground.
With Jessie Durning pulling the pin, this lad's efforts in the latter part of the season will be vital to see how the Boomers fare in the post-season.
4 - ADAM HALL
What's that expression about a fine wine?
He might not be a spring chicken anymore, and he's been relegated to the bench by Boomers' coach Jessie Durning, but Adam Hall is still one of the most impactful players in the region.
His kicking game is hands down the best in the league, and his ability to get his side on the front foot out of dummy half is brilliant.
If you ever want to see a play making masterclass, head down to Berryman Oval on a Sunday afternoon.
5 - NATHAN WHATMAN
Every premiership contender side needs solid go-forward to threaten for a title.
In the case of Kev Grimshaw's Canowindra Tigers, they have that in Nathan Whatman.
He's long been a bush footy custodian but the 22-year-old has lifted his game tenfold this winter.
For a big man, his gas tank is enormous, and he can find the stripe as well. There's several blokes in this forward pack who could have claimed this number five spot, but a hat-trick against Molong earlier in the season gives Whatman the nod.
6 - BLAKE DUNCOMBE
He doesn't score the hat-tricks or get the write ups, but if you ask anyone out at Canowindra about their key men this season, Duncombe's name is thrown into the pile straight away.
He represented the Tigers in the Cup's All-Star contest and does a stack of dirty work up the guts.
One thing he won't be pleased about is missing the side's last clash as he set out in the pre-season to play every game for the black and golds.
7 - BRAD MCMILLAN
They don't come much tougher than this bloke.
Brad McMillan was assigned to lead the Golden Eagles into battle this season, and while they probably haven't lived up to expectations yet, things are starting to heat up for them.
The veteran back rower is a key piece in a forward pack he dubbed as the best in the competition, as his old school playing style is a nightmare for anyone to go up against.
He isn't the biggest back rower in the league, but if you run at him, you'll know about it.
8 - JAKE MULLINS
While Luke Petrie's dancing around and setting up tries, Jake Mullins is ripping and tearing in the back row.
The Rhinos' enforcer might not be the region's most prolific name, but rest assured, he gets through his work... and then some.
In a forward pack that features both Hugh Gibson and Semisi Tupou, it's very impressive to think that Mullins has been the standout.
He'll need to be fit and firing if the Rhinos want to overhaul Canowindra.
9 - JACK READ
Ask anyone in the league if they'd be keen to run at Jack Read, they'd all say the same thing ... 'hell no.'
This powerhouse has been running around with Peak Hill for years, and continues to be one of the side's most damaging player.
He won't tower over anyone, but he's strongly built and will iron anyone out.
It's a shame the Roosters won't feature in the post-season this year, because Read would certainly be one to keep an eye on.
10 - SAM INGRAM
It hasn't been a perfect season at Cargo Oval, but Sam Ingram has certainly been one of the side's shining lights.
As far as centres go, he's the complete package.
He can break the line out wide, and will put on a massive shot if he needs to.
Ingram also has a knack for producing one-on-one steals, something that seems to be lost in rugby league.
The Heelers are an outside chance to make the finals but even if they don't, Ingram is one of the league's most dynamic players.
THE REST ...
- 11 - Lawrence Fogg - Deceptively hard to tackle and will do a job in a number of different positions.
- 12 - Luke Bateman - Decorated background and can get Grenfell's pack going if he's on deck.
- 13 - Caleb Cohen - Great ball skills for a big man and hard to bring down.
- 14 - Curtis Wykamp - Hard to handle and is somewhat of an enforcer for the Eagles.
- 15 - Treigh Coe - A real talent on a team that's struggled so far.
- 16 - Lewis Dwyer - A man mountain who runs as good a line as any.
- 17 - Hugh Gibson - Workhorse mentality.
- 18 - Zac Reimer - Runs for days and can finish.
- 19 - Callum Clyburn - Mr versatile, and has a touching back story.
- 20 - Brad Watt - Can find the stripe.
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