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Posted by RLPA

September 19, 2023

10 new faces for 2023 Players’ Dream Team (NRL)

The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is pleased to announce The Players’ Dream Team for the 2023 NRL season – the best 13 players by their positions, as voted by the players.

The 2023 Players’ Dream Team for the NRL competition is:

Fullback: Reece Walsh

Wingers: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak & Brian To’o

Centres: Herbie Farnworth & Stephen Crichton

Five-Eighth: Cameron Munster

Halfback: Shaun Johnson

Props: Payne Haas & Addin Fonua-Blake

Hooker: Harry Grant

Second Rowers: Haumole Olakau’atu & Liam Martin

Lock: Patrick Carrigan

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster now joins James Tedesco with the most appearances in the Players’ Dream Team, with the pair having been voted as the best players in their respective positions four times. Munster was also voted into the Dream Team by his peers in 2018, 2019, and 2022. 

Payne Haas now joins Nathan Cleary and Cameron Smith on three appearances with his selection in 2023. He is the first prop to be selected for the Dream Team three times.

It’s also a year for debutants on the 2023 Dream Team with 10 players being voted the best in their position for the first time – Reece Walsh, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Herbie Farnworth, Stephen Crichton, Shaun Johnson, Addin Fonua-Blake, Harry Grant, Haumole Olakau’atu, Liam Martin, and Patrick Carrigan.

Brian To’o returns to the Dream Team for a second year after his first selection in 2021.

The year’s Dream Team is represented by five clubs, with the Brisbane Broncos featuring the most players (4), followed by the Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors (3), Melbourne Storm (2) and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1).

Clint Newton, the CEO of the RLPA, praised the 13 players from the NRL who were chosen by their fellow players to feature in the 2023 Players’ Dream Team:

“On behalf of the RLPA, I would like to congratulate the 13 outstanding NRL players who have been recognised by their peers as the best of the best in the 2023 season. This prestigious honour of being voted by your fellow players signifies each of the 13’s exceptional skill, determination and commitment to their teams, fans and individual high-performance standards through 2023. 

“We are immensely proud of our players’ achievements on and off the field. The players have consistently displayed remarkable talent and sportsmanship, and their selection to the Players’ Dream Team is a testament to their efforts and weekly contributions. 

“The Players’ Awards symbolise the convergence of fierce rivalries tempered by mutual respect. While players engage in intense battles on the field, they share a profound and authentic admiration for one another. They recognise, as do we, that rugby league is the most demanding sport on the planet, a reality they confront every single day. Given the exceptional talent playing in the NRL, the task of selecting the top 13 players was undoubtedly a tough one for the players. 

“The RLPA congratulates all 13 players who have been voted to the Dream Team by their fellow players. It stands as a tribute to receive such recognition from one’s peers and to be designated as the premier player in their respective NRL positions for that season.”

Most appearances in The Players’ Dream Teams from the NRL:

  • 4 – James Tedesco, Cameron Munster
  • 3 – Cameron Smith, Nathan Cleary, Payne Haas
  • 2 – Joseph Manu, Justin Olam, Daniel Tupou, James Fisher-Harris, Isaiah Papali’i, David Nofoaluma, Josh Papali’i, Viliame Kikau, Latrell Mitchell, Jake Trbojevic, Brian To’o

Previous Players’ Dream Teams from the NRL:

  • 2022: James Tedesco, Joseph Sua’ali’i, Joseph Manu, Justin Olam, Daniel Tupou, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt, James Fisher-Harris, Api Koroisau, Joseph Tapine, Jeremiah Nanai, Isaiah Papali’i, Cameron Murray
  • 2021: Tom Trbojevic, Brian To’o, Justin Olam, Joseph Manu, Reuben Garrick, Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary, Payne Haas, Brandon Smith, James Fisher-Harris, Isaiah Papali’i, Angus Crichton, Isaah Yeo
  • 2020: James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Kotoni Staggs, Brian Kelly, Brett Morris, Luke Keary, Nathan Cleary, Josh Papali’i, Cameron Smith, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Viliame Kikau, Tohu Harris, Cameron McInnes
  • 2019: James Tedesco, Maika Sivo, Latrell Mitchell, Will Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Payne Haas, Cameron Smith, Josh Papali’i, John Bateman, Kenny Bromwich, Jake Trbojevic
  • 2018: Kalyn Ponga, Valentine Holmes, Latrell Mitchell, Esan Marsters, Jamayne Isaako, Cameron Munster, Johnathan Thurston, Andrew Fifita, Damien Cook, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Viliame Kikau, Tariq Sims, Jake Trbojevic
  • 2017: James Tedesco, Jordan Rapana, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Gagai, David Nofoaluma, Gareth Widdop, Nathan Cleary, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith, David Klemmer, Jason Taumalolo, Wade Graham, Sam Burgess

How The Players’ Dream Team voting works:

  • Players are eligible for selection in a position they primarily played for the relevant season. This means a player cannot be eligible for selection in more than one position. 
  • Each player will be able to nominate a maximum of one player per position, out of the list of eligible players, however, are not able to vote for players on their current team. 
  • The player with the highest point total for each individual position will be selected in the Players’ Dream Team
  • Voting is open to all contracted NRL players.

The Players’ Awards schedule announced on Channel 9:

  • September 21: Players’ Champion Finalists (NRL & NRLW)
  • September 24: Players’ Rookie of the Year (NRL & NRLW)
  • September 28: Players’ Dream Team (NRLW)
  • October 1: The Players’ Champion (NRL & NRLW)
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