It doesn't matter if there's six teams or 16 teams, there's always a plethora of talent running around in the Group 10 ranks.
Let's have a crack at one of the hardest jobs out there... ranking the most influential players in this competition after 12 rounds of action.
1 - DANIEL MORTIMER
It's only fair that the first-placed side has their man at the top of this list.
Daniel Mortimer arrived at the green and golds at the beginning of 2020, and while it took longer than expected for him to take the field, he's lived up to every expectation that was set for him.
You've got to remember that barring Mortimer, this team isn't all that different to the one that missed the semi-finals in 2019.
The captain-coach has taken a crop of mostly CYMS juniors from a bottom four team in 2019, to a serious premiership threat this winter.
He's clearly overhauled the side's attitude, as well as it's on-field structures.
As for his individual ability, Mortimer is deceptively tenacious for his size, and will put his body on the line against any ball-runner.
If the former Eel was to go down with a season-ending injury tomorrow, it would have enormous ramifications on the squad... his value can't be overstated.
2 - DOUG HEWITT
Hewitt and Mortimer aren't all that different.
They both play well above their weight, and both dictate how their men perform on a week-to-week basis.
You could genuinely make the case that what Hewitt's done in 2021 is more impressive than what any captain-coach has achieved.
That's not because the Panthers are running second, it's because they still shape as one of the key chances for the title with half its squad in the injury ward.
Jeremy Gordon, Josh Rivett, Willie Wright and Brent Seager are just a few names who have already missed time this year, but Hewitt keeps calling on his up and coming stocks, and they keep doing a job for him.
His on-field authority is clear for anyone to see. He steers the ship around with his voice - like any good captain will do - and his compact build and off-the-mark acceleration gives him an extremely dangerous running game, particularly close to the line.
3 - CLAY PRIEST
You'd expect anyone with this bloke's background to have success in bush footy.
The Mudgee Dragons' enforcer enters Group 10 with 39 NRL games under his belt, so it's no surprise to see him running rampant for the Red V.
In a pack that already possess a tonne of size and talent, Priest brings a terrifying running game and a massive gas tank.
There's clips of him carrying four-five blokes to the try-line this season, and there wouldn't be many players who can honestly say they've brought him down in a one-on-one scenario.
He'd be up there with one of the more feared forwards in the competition.
Something else that's stood out about Priest is his will to win. It doesn't happen all that often, but sometimes when you get blokes come to the bush from the NRL, they don't play with the same fire they did in the big leagues.
Well, that's not the case with Priest. You can tell how much his role at Mudgee means, and when he clicks into that terrorising mood, he can take a game by the scruff of the neck.
4 - KEELAN BRESAC
With all due respect to Bresac, I don't think many people would have expected him to be so dominant this season.
That's not to say he wasn't coming to Panthers from Lithgow with expectations, but he's genuinely gone above and beyond in 2021.
His efforts have been so good that teammate Jake Betts dubbed him as the best player in the competition so far, and it's not a claim that you'd argue with.
Bresac announced himself in the pre-season knockout with a devastating cameo, and that form's continued into the regular season.
He's a big, powerful runner and has a very clear knack for breaking tackles.
When both he and Jeremy Gordon are fit, these two make for the best centre pairing in the competition, and it's not close.
5 - ETHAN MCKELLAR
A well-earned berth in the top five for this bloke.
McKellar is an integral part of Hawks' star-studded forward pack, and puts his body on the line for 80 minutes every Sunday.
Anyone you ask about Hawks will always speak about the influence McKellar has on the squad.
He's got a powerful and ultra consistent running game, and will put anyone on his back if he's making a tackle.
Another key attribute that sets McKellar apart is his heart. He's playing with a heavy one this winter after the passing of Mason Pollack, and you can tell he's laying it all on the line for his mate, as is the entire club.
6 - JOE DUFFY
Say what you want about Joe Duffy, but this man has taken his game to another level in 2021.
Much like the respect Bresac has commanded among teammates, Duffy has drawn similar praise from almost everyone at Norton Park.
It's not as if he's making five line breaks a game, or even putting on enormous hits.
The quality he puts on the park lies within his consistency. He's an out-and-out 80 minute footballer and there's not a huge difference between his best day and his worst day... that's the sign of a good athlete.
The recruitment of Jack Buchanan has done him well as the middle men have built a nice combination as they're often popping the ball to one another late at the line.
Again, if you watch the CYMS tape, Duffy doesn't scream explosive, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a hole in his game.
When blokes like Buchanan and Mortimer are calling you the side's out-and-out gun, that's pretty indicative.
7 - WILLIE HETA
He won't make the runs that Saul Houma does, or put on the shots that Rakai Tuheke does, but Willie Heta is the life-blood of Hawks' playing structures, and has been ever since he arrived at the club.
His kicking and running game are solid - as you'd expect - but the ball skills Heta possesses are almost second-to-none, and that seems to be something that comes most Kiwi playmakers.
In two blues' last derby against CYMS, he showed he's still got a bit of oomph as well, charging at the goal-line and dragging several green and gold jerseys over the stripe for a try.
Some credit must be given to Toby Westcott, here. The Hawks' halfback has given Heta the opportunity to take his game one or two wide of the ruck, and when he's able to work with edge runners like Tuheke and Marcel Ikinofo, he's even more dangerous.
8 - MITCH SQUIRE
St Pat's unsung hero in 2021.
He's versatile, fit and as strong as an ox.
There probably isn't anyone at Jack Arrow who makes more tackles than Squire does, and he's always looming up around ball runners offering his support.
And like any dummy half worth knowing about, Squire knows exactly when to take off and often leaves markers in his wake when he does.
The Zac Merritts and Jackson Briens of this competition are crucial, but Squire hasn't missed a beat this winter.
9 - JACK LITTLEJOHN
The fact that he's missed a large chunk of the season pushes him down the rank, but you can't go past Dragons' captain-coach.
It might be a geographical thing, but Mudgee has a habit of flying under the radar and it seems to be doing the same thing this winter.
Littlejohn, along with Harry Siejka, is the most prolific halves duo in the competition and if they both find themselves on the field come semi-finals time, this squad will be hard to beat.
10 - JEREMY GORDON
He seems to get better with age, this lad.
Gordon is everything you look for in an outside back. A deadly turn of foot, tackle-breaking ability, and genuine feel for the game.
He's spent the last month or so on the sidelines, and that absence has hurt the men in black.
11: Brent Seager.
If he'd been on deck for every game, he'd likely be inside the top three. Seager claimed man of the match honours in back-to-back grand finals, but he's been banged up this season.
12: Harry Siejka.
Hard to split Littlejohn and Siejka but when a team's traveling well, the captain-coach gets the nod. Siejka is just as good and has an elite kicking game.
13: Jackson Brien.
Another guy who's been plagued by injuries. He's widely considered as one of the most lethal weapons in the competition, but hasn't spent quite enough time on the park, and is arguably wasted in the centres.
14: Jack Buchanan.
Has quietly been on of CYMS' most dependable middle men. Is constantly finding his front and is always a danger to offload.
15: Zac Merritt
Missed time with injury but is back now and firing on all cylinders.
16: Lachie Munro.
Safe as a bank under the high ball and very elusive.
17: Saul Houma.
A wrecking balls who's almost odds-on to score if he gets the ball in a goal-line situation.
18: Nathan Potts.
A tireless worker who's always doing the tough stuff.
19: Jake Betts.
Plays well above his weight and has great ball skills.
20: Joey Mauu.
A shining light in a struggling team.
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