David Fifita is on the rise. Picture: Adam Head
David Fifita is on the rise. Picture: Adam Head

Badel’s top 50: Broncos sensation is the real deal

Check out part three of Peter Badel's top 50 NRL players as the kick-off of the 2020 season draws near.

David Fifita was a talent on the rise at the start of 2019 - now he's the hottest signature in the game.

Out of contract at the end of the year, the Broncos lead the race to secure the Queenslander's services but the Titans and Rabbitohs have also been in the race.

He sits comfortably in our top 50 countdown of NRL talents for 2020, and looks likely to keep rising up the ranks as his fledgling career builds momentum.

 

Cody Walker was a late starter but his rise has been dramatic. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Cody Walker was a late starter but his rise has been dramatic. Picture: Phil Hillyard

30 Cody Walker

(Rabbitohs)

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Two boom seasons propels him into the top 50. Made his NRL debut at age 26 and has since racked up 96 games for the Rabbitohs. Was the NRL's form player of the opening months last season, leading to his Origin debut in Game One. His confidence took a hit after being dropped from the NSW team, but few players have his vision and natural ball-playing instincts.

 

Viliame Kikau could go to another level in 2020. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Viliame Kikau could go to another level in 2020. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

 

29 Viliame Kikau

(Panthers)

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Special 'K' is gearing up for a season of destruction. Terrorised rivals at the recent NRL Nines and has dropped almost 5kg to be in devastating shape ahead of the 2020 season. Tall, rangy and with the ability to offload, the Fijian hulk is a match-winner for the Panthers.

 

Jai Arrow will head to the Rabbitohs at the end of the season. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Jai Arrow will head to the Rabbitohs at the end of the season. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

28 Jai Arrow

(Titans)

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How could the Gold Coast lose this bloke? The Souths-bound Arrow is so competitive he would try to beat his grandmother at Scrabble. Loves being in the thick of the action and while not the biggest forward, he punches above his weight with a knack for chalking-up huge metres in attack. Already a key member of the Queensland Origin side.

 

Tyson Frizell will again prove a dangerous attacking prospect in 2020. Picture: Brett Costello
Tyson Frizell will again prove a dangerous attacking prospect in 2020. Picture: Brett Costello

 

27 Tyson Frizell

(Dragons)

LAST YEAR: 24

Muscular running machine who has the tackle-busting qualities of Jason Taumalolo and David Fifita. Struggled for consistency at times in erratic Dragons teams but is a proven performer in the representative arena with the Blues. Every rival back-rower must be wary of marking him.

 

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is leading the charge for the Roosters. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is leading the charge for the Roosters. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

 

26 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

(Roosters)

LAST YEAR: 41

The 31-year-old is the no-nonsense enforcer every premiership side craves. Never takes a backward step and when the pressure is on, JWH gets going. Went off the boil a few years ago but was outstanding last year in the Roosters' charge to back-to-back titles.

 

David Fifita is set to explode for the Broncos. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
David Fifita is set to explode for the Broncos. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

 

25 David Fifita

(Broncos)

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So raw 12 months ago, the Broncos sensation is now the real deal. Just turned 20, Fifita is a powerhouse on the fringes with his explosive running and hit-and-spin. Already commanding $1 million offers after breaking into the Queensland Origin side and Australia's Nines teams in 2019. Has the potential to challenge Jason Taumalolo as the code's best forward.

 

Josh Addo-Carr is the fastest man in the NRL. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Josh Addo-Carr is the fastest man in the NRL. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

24 Josh Addo-Carr

(Storm)

LAST YEAR: 21

'The Fox' gets extra points for being an entertainer adored by NRL fans. Has stolen James Roberts' mantle as the fastest player in the code and his 57 tries in three seasons are testament to his pace and finishing power.

 

Blake Ferguson’s athleticism is difficult to stop. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne
Blake Ferguson’s athleticism is difficult to stop. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne

 

23 Blake Ferguson

(Eels)

LAST YEAR: 35

Is there a better natural athlete in the game? Big 'Fergo' can make the odd mistake but he more than compensates with his brutal kick returns, pace and penchant for finding the tryline from unlikely situations. A big-match player who can propel Parramatta to the premiership.

 

Cameron Murray was inspirational for the Bunnies in 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman
Cameron Murray was inspirational for the Bunnies in 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

 

22 Cameron Murray

(Rabbitohs)

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A magnificent season from the Rabbitohs forward. Like Victor Radley at the Roosters, Murray is a born footballer. Plays above his weight and not only a superb defender but a gifted ball-runner who invariably pokes his nose through the defensive line. When Souths need an inspirational play, Murray invariably provides it.

 

Siosiua Taukeiaho has an impressive range of weapons in his arsenal. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Siosiua Taukeiaho has an impressive range of weapons in his arsenal. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

 

21 Siosiua Taukeiaho

(Roosters)

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Racked up 100 NRL games last year and played a key role in the Roosters' charge to back-to-back titles. Magnificent cocktail of weapons for a front-rower. Great footwork, kicks goals and underlined his midfield power by running for 3112 metres last season at an average of 149 per game.