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John Drake

Rugby League World XIII

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Rugby League World will be publishing our annual World XIII player ratings in the next issue, out 7th December.

Who would you select in your World XIII and why?

List your choices and reasons below and we'll publish a selection of your comments in RLW.

You can also discuss the World XIII and who should be included in it with our regular columnist Robbie Hunter-Paul on Twitter this evening (Weds 21st Nov) between 5.30-6.30pm. Follow @RHunterPaul and join in the live chat!

Your World XIII










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  1. Ben Barba - Currently the most exciting attacking player in the world IMO. Brilliant feet, great pace, great support. Even his defensive play has come on leaps and bounds last season under Des Hasler.
  2. Ryan Hall - Power, pace and an ability to score tries in big games.
  3. Greg Inglis - I know he played most of the year at Full back, but how can you leave someone like him out!
  4. Callum Watkins - Inexperienced I know but he is big, quick and agile, someone who has the potential to cause real problems for any defence.
  5. Akuila Uate - Brute of player, can go around or over the top of defenders. Had a bit of a dip in mid-season but came back strongly
  6. Jonathan Thurston - Can single handedly dictate games and often needs to for the Cowboys. Has all the skills with hand and boot at his disposal.
  7. Cooper Cronk - Similar to Thurston with his game awareness and has become the key component of the Melbourne triangle of Smith, Slater, Cronk.
  8. James Tamou - Should really be paying for NZ but no wonder the Aussies wanted him. Makes massive metres, has the speed of a back row and hits hard.
  9. Isaac Luke - Terrier like player. Tackles well above his weight and bamboozles defenders from dummy half. Honourable mention to the machine that is James Roby.
  10. Sam Burgess - At either prop or second row is always consistent when on the field. Great ball skills for a big bloke and a massive tackler (although the shoulder charge ban will affect his game more than most).
  11. Nate Myles - Workhorse player who was man of the Origin series does a lot of the unsung toil.
  12. Ben Westwood - Tough as they come. Happy to roll his sleeves up in the middle or skillfull enough to operate on the edges.
  13. Paul Gallen - Can play anywhere in the pack but 13 gives him the opportunity to do what he does best, go looking for the ball and making massive metres. Always up for a bit of biff as well!

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Right this is my opinion:

Full Back - Billy Slater. Best full back in the world IMO. His attacking game is as good as anybody elses aswell as positionally and defencively he is top notch. Reads the game exceptionally well which people seem to forget since he has such an attacking threat. Barba and Tomkins are as good in attack but lack the all round game that Slater has.

Winger - Ryan Hall. Proven season after season he is a quality try scorer. Proved himself against the worlds best opposition against Australia and New Zealand in the four nations and proved it again in the WCC with a great 2 try performance to take the title against Manly.

Centre - Josh Morris. I think he's been brilliant this season and a massive factor in the Bulldogs success this year. A massive attacking threat and one of the most defencively sound centres in the NRL.

Centre - Greg Inglis. Obviously the sheer power of the man is the reason behind his success. At full flight he is virtually unstoppable. Had a great season for souths at full back but even at centre he is arguably the best in the world.

Winger - Nathan Merrit. Had a great season for souths and scored some brilliant tries. Very enjoyable too watch also. I think they're isnt many World Class wingers in the world. Uates performance in SOO just has lessened my opinion of him as he looked so out classed it was unreal.

Stand Off - Cooper Cronk. Oustanding for melbourne this year and some of the stuff he does is just genius. Cool under pressure as showed in SOO 3 and has played consistently well all season. I feel he is a better player than Marshall and can do the things Benji does but makes them look so easy.

Scrum Half Jonathan Thurston. Pretty much same as Cronk but for the Cowboys. Plays consistently well and just oozes confidence on the top stage. Had to fill in for the great Darren Lockyer for queensland but didn't look a second out of place doing it.

Prop - James Tamou. Had a great season in the NRL. Arguably the best prop. Stood out in many of the games he played.

Hooker - Cameron Smith. Best hooker in the world definitely. He out does Robbie Farah in the sense of how easily he controls a game and gets through just as much work as Farah. His disribution also sets him a class apart from James Roby.

Prop - James Graham. Despite the alleged bite in the GF Graham was exceptional this season. Stepped up to the intensity easily despite playing in an unfamiliar role of coming off the bench. The Bulldogs will miss him at the start of next season.

Second Row - Nathan Hindmarsh. Gets through an absolute tonne of work in every NRL game. It feels like he gets involved in every tackle when watching him play. Also good going forward and will always take the ball up.

Second Row - Sam Burgess. On ball returns it looks like he plays ten pin bowling with his opponents the speed he runs at several opponents. Obviously injuries have been his downfall, but on his day he is undoubtly one of the best second rowers in the world.

Loose Forward - Paul Gallen. Absolute quality in every aspect. The amount of work he gets through is unreal. He works so hard and is a great leader. Cronulla would be lost without him.

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Would probably be my number three fullback after Barba and Inglis. Brilliant in attack but very suspect defensively for me.

Slater??? Tomkins is probably a better full back than Inglis so I'd still put him third. Slater is a class above all. Putting Watkins in that team is just madness. He's not even in the top 10 centres.

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thats a world class description

Badly worded but its true. So many Wingers have flaws in there game. Maybe its a harder position than people think. Uate was exceptionally bad at Origin. Brett Morris was average this year. Vatuvei can't pass or tackle. Boyd has always been overated in my opinion.

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It was tough to pick just 13 players with so many stand out performances this year, so i’ve selected my 1st choice 13 and also my 2nd choice:-

Full Back – Billy Slater- Still the best all round full back in the world, no-one yet comes close.

Wing – Brent Tate - May be getting on now but has been fantastic this year, especially in Origin

Centre – Greg Inglis - May be playing full back but is still the best centre bar none in world rugby. A game breaker in his own right who inspired the Bunnies this year.

Centre – Jamie Lyon – May have shunned representative honours but yet another stunning season for the Sea Eagles. A cool head who can see things long before other players. His ability to read the game is better than anyone else currently playing.

Wing – Brett Morris – Overlooked at first for Origin and admittedly not had as good a year as 2011 but still a top class player and fantastic finisher.

Stand Off – Jonathan Thurston – Has everything you would ever want in a half back, great kicking & passing game and leads the team around the field brilliantly. Add in his fantastic goal kicking and it makes him one of the most complete players in the world.

Cooper Cronk – Had another fantastic year for Melbourne and has stepped effortlessly into the number 7 shirt for Queensland & Australia.

Prop – James Graham – Even the Aussies voted him as being the best prop in the NRL this year. Stunning first season with the Doggies and he’s developed his game under the coaching of Des Hassler.

Hooker – Cameron Smith – The real leader and Architect of the Melbourne team and the one they miss most when he’s not there. Dictates play and leads the forwards around brilliantly at club, Origin and International level.

Prop – Ben Matulino – For me the stand out prop in the NRL this year. He’s big, fast & strong and is the cornerstone of the Warriors pack. Makes massive metres and hits hard.

2nd Row – Jeremy Smith – Traditional hard running, ferocious tackling back rower. One of the reasons the Sharks had such a good year as he motivates & leads the pack forward. He often walks a fine line with some of his play but strikes fear into opposition forwards.

2nd Row – Feleti Mateo – The best off-loader in the world bar none. Doesn’t have the legs to play 80mins anymore but wreaks havoc in opposition defences with his ability to get the ball away in near impossible situations. His ability to create something out of nothing as a joy to watch.

Loose Forward – Paul Gallen – The epitomy of a modern day RL player. Tough as teak with the best engine in the game. Never gives up and terrorises the opposition forwards.

My second choice 13 would be:-

Full Back – Ben Barba – Stunning year with the Doggies and the most explosive & exciting player to watch in the NRL

Wing – Ryan Hall – Great year with Leeds and a proven finisher at club and International level

Centre – Josh Morris – Showed his real class this year with the doggies and the real go-to man for them. Also had a fantastic origin with only Inglis bettering him in the centre position throughout the series.

Centre – Krisnan Inu – Started the year as a Warriors reject but had a stunning season with the doggies. Formed a lethal centre partnership with Morris and had the ability to open up opposition defences at will. Special mention should also go to Konrad Hurrell, stunning 1st year at the Warriors and a real joy to watch him trampling over the opposition.

Wing – Akila Uate – Struggled early season and had a shaky Origin series but is great to watch. Has pace & power with the ability to score from anywhere.

Stand Off – Josh Reynolds – Grasped his chance with the doggies and was the play maker in chief for them. Provided a good link between forwards & backs, controlled play with his kicking and scored some good individual try’s.

Scrum Half – Shaun Johnson – Had a bit of an up & down season but on his day is absolutely unplayable. Electric pace with an eye for a gap, has also started to develop the other parts of his game this year.

Prop – James Tamou – Real stand out this year with a massive impact at Origin & International level

Hooker – James Roby – Another great year for Saints. Stunning workrate with the ability to open up defences from acting half.

Prop – Sam Burgess – Hard running & hard hitting. Leads the Bunnies pack brilliantly and is getting better every year.

2nd Row – Sam Thaiday – Has taken on the leadership role at the Bronco’s and is strong runner capable of busting through the toughest of defences.

2nd Row – Nate Myles – Not flash but does exactly what it says on the tin. Carried the Titans pack this year and had a great Origin series.

Loose Forward – Matt Gillett – Had a real breakthrough season for the Bronco’s with some tough tackling & strong running performances, earning himself an Origin call up.

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Full Back - Billy Slater - Much as I dislike saying this (mainly because of the "he can do no wrong" attitude of commentators) he is the best full back in the world. Yes he sometimes has a brainfart but he normally defensively strong and his attacking play is exceptional.

Winger - Ryan Hall - The best winger in either code of rugby. No other winger or full back will enjoy seeing him running at them. Ask the world's best full back if he enjoys "tackling" WBW.

Centre - Greg Inglis - Quality at full back for the Bunnies but he is still the best Centre in the world. GI in full flight is a sight to behold unless he's in the Green & Gold against England. That 1st half at Wigan still hurts!

Centre - Josh Morris - He's had a big season for the Dogs. A strong attacking and defensive Centre. .

Winger - Nathan Merritt - In my World XIII mainly because I'm a Souths fan. He should have more representative honours so I've put him in my team to make up for being overlooked by NSW and Aussie selectors. He is a good player as well though. Always amongst the top try scorers even when Souths were pants.

Stand Off - Jonathan Thurston - Whenever the Cowboys, Queensland or Australia need something to happen, he's the man. His kicking ain't too shabby either.

Scrum Half - Cooper Cronk - Benji Marshall may sometimes show more flair but a team needs consistency and Cronk brings that and flair. Plus my wife thinks he has the greatest name in sport!

Prop - James Tamou - Best Prop in the game. Makes good metres with ball in hand and a big defensive player.

Hooker - Cameron Smith - Without a doubt the best hooker in the world. He controls a game so well it sometimes looks like it's easy. He does the simple things exceptionally well and makes the exceptional look simple. Quality!

Prop - James Graham - Forget the fallout from the Grand Final, Graham has been brilliant for the Dogs. Canterbury up their game when he comes off the bench.

Second Row - Sam Burgess - When fit no other 2nd row comes close to what he brings to the team. Massive in attack and defence.

Second Row - Dave Taylor - Personally I love watching The Coal Train taking the ball up out wide. Great hands for a big man. Souths will miss him.

Loose Forward - Paul Gallen - Never seems to have a bad game. A great leader at Cronulla. The Sharks would be a very poor side without him.

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1 Billy Slater

2 Ryan Hall

3 Greg Ingles

4 Josh Morris

5 Brett Morris

6 Jonathan Thurston

7 Cooper Cronk

8 Sam Burgess

9 Cameron Smith

10 James Graham

11 Gareth Ellis

12 Greg Bird

13 Paul Gallen

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Edit my team; I totally forgot about greg bird. He's absolutely quality. I'd have him replace hindmarsh.

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Billy Slater- Simply and consistantly the best. Barba and co have phases where they are good and then disappear. Barba went AWOL at the Grand Final for instance when his team needed him most.

Brett Morris- Tough one but he still is probably the best winger over the past few seasons. Hall is good but I dont think he was that good in 2012 and he should move to the NRL to test himself against the worlds best.

Greg Inglis- A beast of a man who is like lightening, built like a truck and has great hands for a big man.

Jamie Lyon- Quality player who keeps on performing the goods over the years.

Ryan Hall-Very good winger but wasted in SL where he has no real competition. Should go to the NRL.

Jonathon Thurston- Quality in every game he plays and has stepped into Lockyers boots with ease.

Cooper Cronk- His abilty to read the game so well and just pass and know slater and co are there without looking is legendary. His kicks are pin point and the best kicker in the game.

James Tamou- A massive year again and has been so consistant.

Cameron Smith- Controls the game and its like the coach is playing himself when smith is there organizing. Knows exactly what needs to be done and is as cool as ice and never loses it.

Ben Matulino- What a beast. Smashes people no matter who they are week in week out. Makes metres for fun. Dont think there is anybody better at doing there job and so consistantly as him.

Nate Myles- Underrated I feel but another real powerhouse. His efforts in SoO were outstanding and he is a massive presence both for the Titans and the Queenslanders this year.

Sam Thaiday- Another guy who just gets stuck in and does his job so well. Always makes good metres and tackles hard. Not frightened of getting stuck in. Somebody you want in your team rather than play against

Paul Gallen- A machine! Massive effort every time he plays. Loads of tackles, loads of metres and real in your face attitude. Nobody near to Gallen at Lock.

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I don't watch enough NRL (the strongest comp) week to week to be sure but I'd have Slater, Josh Morris, Thurston, Cronk, Cam Smith and Gallen for sure. Logic dictates Inglis would be there somewhere too.

Among the British, Tomkins, Hall, Graham, Burgess and possibly Roby (not Ellis) would be in with a shout, though probably any World XIII wouldn't have more than a couple of British players.

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1. Billy Slater - best in the world for last 8 years

2. Brett Morris - great season both domestic and SOO

3. Jamie Lyon - clearly the best centre in the world a player with so much class it is unreal

4. Greg Inglis - when "on" the best attacking player in the world unstoppable

5. Ryan Hall - great finisher, so solid no weakness and so consistant

6. Jon Thurstan - great player to watch can pull something out of nothing whenever he needs to

7. Cooper Cronk - great all round player gets in because of a of overall weakness in the position world wide currently

8. Matt Scott - solid prop in all facits of the game

9. Cam Smith - fantastic clever player

10.James Graham - great work rate and has changed forward play in Australia with his ball handling

11.Sam Burgess - injury free the guy is a force to be reckoned with

12.Frank Pritchard - close with Tony Williams but just went for the "tank"

13.Paul Gallan - easiest selection of the night.

Would be my team.

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1 Slater

then Tomkins, Inglis, Barba, then Stewart (it's Slater and then a whole stack of amazing players with not much between the next 3 I reckon, although the last time I suggested there were any flaws at all in Inglis and Barba's games I was subjected to a somewhat disproportionate response!)

2 Hall

5 Uate

then Morris, Hayne, Vatuvai (relatively slim pickings worldwide)

3 Inglis

4 Lyon

then Morris, Kenny-Dowell, Watkins (based on rep form largely, although Oz have a fair few other genius centres)

6 Thurston

then Marshall, Sinfield, Carney, Reynolds (apart from a few amazing players, this is quite weak worldwide as all the best 6s play fullback nowadays)

7 Cronk

then Cherry-Evans, Johnson, Pearce, Wallace (again plenty solid players but a bit of a gap between the best and the rest)

8 Graham

10 Matulino

then Tamou, big fat Canterbury prop. Shillington (Oz in particular have dozens of really solid players so they pick guys on form, mostly one season wonders for NSW)

9 Smith

then Roby, Burrow, Farah, Luke (it's Smith and then the rest for me)

11 Thaiday

12 Burgess

then Pritchard, Bird, Ellis (the top 2 less on consistent form, more on world class ability)

13 Gallen

then Smith, O'Loughlin, Stewart, Gillette (hard to pick 13s as a lot of sides use props there now)

So about 10 Eng and 8 NZ in the top 45, which again suggests Oz have about 3-4 times as many very good players as us. This seems about right.

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1 billy slater

2 ryan hall

3 greg inglis

4 jamie lyon

5 manu vatevai

6 sam tomkins

7 jonathon thurston

8 james graham

9 cameron smith

10 sam burgess

11 tony williams

12 sonny bill williams

13 paul gallen...

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So no-one has picked either of the two dominant players in our game - Sam and Kev (with apologies to Lee and James) - a damning indictment of our comp.

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So no-one has picked either of the two dominant players in our game - Sam and Kev (with apologies to Lee and James) - a damning indictment of our comp.

Er I had 3 England players in the World 13 which isn't bad. And a couple of the NRL's most dominant players in Carney and Barba didn't fair too well either. Not sure missing out Sam and Kev is exactly a damning verdict of our comp, but I admit there is no way if ignoring that Oz do have perhaps 4 times as many good players as we do.

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Er I had 3 England players in the World 13 which isn't bad.

Only 1 plays in our comp though, and he is hardly in a pivotal position.

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