Day by day, we take an in-depth look at every member of the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team Of The Year. We start off with the fullback: Zac Santo.
It was an extraordinary year for Santo, with the Mounties custodian becoming one of the form players in the competition and helping his team to the minor premiership. While the season ended in heartbreaking fashion for the 23-year-old with a grand final defeat to the Cutters, he was named the best no.1 in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. It was a hotly-contested position and Santo beat out the likes of Honeti Tuha and Illawarra's Adam Quinlan, who was Man Of The Match in the decider.
Following a move south from the Cowboys, Santo found his feet quickly and even earned himself an NRL appearance for the Canberra Raiders in Round 14 against the Broncos - his second game in the top grade.
Santo is key to Mounties attack, always circling the ball in support and playing his part in set pieces. In total, the Townsville junior was second in both kick returns (averaging 33.2 metres) and tackle-breaks (4.5 per game) this season; two stats that demonstrate his class at the back for Mounties.
He is also a prolific try-scorer, with 11 four-pointers this year, but isn't only an attacking weapon and made many try-saving tackles throughout the year. An heroic tackle against Newtown in the first week of the finals springs to mind, when he stopped Travis Robinson scoring a seemingly certain four-pointer in the corner.
Santo is a great all-round player whose wonderful season earns him a deserved spot in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team Of The Year.