8. Russell Packer (Illawarra Cutters)
The Cutters’ new recruit for 2015 was a man on a mission this season, leading his team from the front in an abbreviated season that saw his side finish fifth in total run metres (32,577) despite his side finishing in 10th position at the end of the season.
Packer, who yesterday signed a two-year playing contract with St George Illawarra following approval from the NRL, will feature in first grade from next season and it’s no wonder seeing the impact he had in the VB NSW Cup this season.
9. Mitch Williams (Wyong Roos)
The heart and soul of the Roos’ side, Mitch Williams led his side all the way to the grand final in 2015 – and his influence was arguably greater than any other individual’s across the entire season.
Through the 25-match home-and-away year, Williams racked up a range of big numbers – his service helped his team to more run metres than any other team (34,319 – ranked first); he recorded 759 tackles (ranked second); led the way with line-break assists (26 in total – ranked first); made 113 dummy-half runs (ranked second); and recorded more try assists than any other player in the VB Cup (22 – ranked first).
If Roosters rake Jake Friend goes down with an injury in 2016, expect Williams to be thrust into first grade – where, many would argue, he belongs.
10. Luke Page (Mounties/Illawarra Cutters)
Brutal. Barnstorming. Belligerent.
Fierce-charging front-rower Luke Page captured the imagination early on in the season with a highlights reel full of high-energy, brickwall-busting runs that got not only rugby league but the entire world talking.
Page, who began the year at Mounties before shifting to the Cutters, ranked third in total run yardage across the regular season, charging for a total of 2881 metres in a league-best 266 total runs.
And his opponents would still be feeling every one of them.
Each day this week we’ll analyse the best performers of the season. Click here to view the full 2015 VB NSW Cup Team of the Year.