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Top 5 best fullbacks in the NRL

They're the custodians at the back, charged with diffusing bombs and kick-starting a team's go forward, but who are the best fullbacks in the NRL?

  1. 1 Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)

    There was a school of thought that Billy Slater might have been a little passed it but he has come over his injury concerns and is amongst the very best fullbacks in the game once again.

    He set the league and the State of Origin arena alight once again as a huge part of the dominant Storm and Queensland sides who won the Minor Premiership and Origin series respectively.

    Slater managed seven tries during his 18 appearances this season, a decent return in a star-studded side which handed most of the four-pointers to wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu. His efforts in corralling the defence and leading from the back have made a huge difference to how the Storm have fared.

    Slater has been far and away the best fullback in the NRL during the 2017 season.

  2. 2 James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)

    It's fair to say that James Tedesco was the shining light in an otherwise dreary season for the Wests Tigers. His new club, Sydney Roosters, have plenty to look forward to in 2018.

    The New South Wales Blues fullback put in strong performances in a losing series during the State of Origin period. In the league, he gave everything in a Tigers side that spent much of the year getting belted from pillar to post before an upturn towards the end of the season.

    Tedesco managed five tries in 21 NRL appearances but it was his consistency under the high ball and strong kick returns that earned him plenty of plaudits. Teddy is an electric ball-runner and provides a much-needed spark to any team he plays for. 

    The Roosters have nabbed themselves a tremendous player for 2018.

  3. 3 Darius Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)

    Darius Boyd's importance to the Brisbane Broncos was underlined perfectly by their poor performance in last night's qualifying final loss to the Sydney Roosters.

    Boyd is the perfect custodian and Wayne Bennett clearly rates him, having signed him for the Dragons, Knights and Broncos during his career. 

    Darius is hugely important in the long, sweeping back line plays that bring the Broncos and the Queensland Maroons plenty of points. His ability to sniff out a try and his safety in defence make him a valuable asset.

  4. 4 Tom Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

    The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have proven plenty of pre-season experts wrong with their performances in 2017 and much of the credit for that must go to their electric fullback Tom Trbojevic.

    Best known as Tommy Turbo, Trbojevic is building the same sort of Premiership-winning partnership with Daly-Cherry Evans that the erstwhile Brett Stewart had with the dynamic half-back, and that bodes well for the Silver Tails.

    12 tries in 22 games, including some phenomenally athletic four-pointers which would prove incredibly important to the Sea Eagles' cause, see Trbojevic amongst the best fullbacks in the league and, in all honestly, he could be at the very top of the list as soon as next season.

  5. 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors)

    2017 was an absolute nightmare for the Warriors having fallen well short of the finals altogether. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has sometimes been criticised for drifting in and out of games but much of that has been due to the teammates around him.

    On his day, RTS is one of the most skillful and complete custodians in the game, with an incredible knack for finding the try-line whilst being safe at the back.

    With things in dire need of fixing over the ditch, Tuivasa-Sheck is the sort of player that coach Stephen Kearney, or any potential replacement, can build around.

    Do you agree with the top five, or should another fullback have found themselves on the list? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Which fullback is currently the best in the NRL?

    1. Billy Slater
    2. Darius Boyd
    3. James Tedesco
    4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    5. Tom Trbojevic
    6. Other (Let us know!)
    233 votes
    Share Your Result

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

  • Peter Hunter

    Can’t really argue there, though I’m a bit dubious about RTS. Sure he can run (though not as good as before his knee injury), but his defence has always been suspect. Even a lot of Warriors fans would rather see him on the wing to hide his lack of defence. I hear they are close to signing Peta Hiku who is a pretty handy fullback so maybe its a chance to move Roger to the wing.

    While I agree with your assessment of Tom Trbojevic, as good as he is and will be at fullback, I think because James Tedesco not only has the jump on him being the NSW fullback but is also a specialist in the position, because of his versatility thanks to playing a lot of first grade there already, most of Tom’s future rep career (at least in his early years) will probably be spent in the three-quarters and mostly on the wing.

Top 5 best fullbacks in the NRL

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