Joseph Manu, Tom Burgess, James Tedesco and Jason Taumalolo.
Joseph Manu, Tom Burgess, James Tedesco and Jason Taumalolo.

The best 17 players in world rugby league right now

THE international season has produced some scintillating performances from a number of standout players.

From Joseph Manu's clinic against Australia to James Tedesco's heroics against Tonga, the cream has risen to the top during the international season to date.

We have picked the best players from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and England to create the ultimate world team.

Six Kangaroos' players, four each from New Zealand and Tonga and three from England made the cut in this ultimate world team.

There were a number of tough calls and notable omissions, but based on the form they have showed in the international season so far we couldn't leave any of these superstars out.

World Team

1. James Tedesco (Kangaroos)

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was unlucky to miss out, given his starring role in the Kiwis' win over the Kangaroos, but Tedesco was no slouch himself and backed it up with a starring display against Tonga.

Tedesco had 123 run metres, three linebreak assists and a try against the Kiwis, while against Tonga he ran for a whopping 193 metres to go with two linebreaks, a try assist and a try.

2. David Fusitu'a (Tonga)

The leading tryscorer in the NRL didn't get over the line against Australia but he was at his damaging best with ball in hand.

Fusitu'a ran for the second-most metres of any back on the field behind Tedesco, with 134 to go with two tackle busts and he looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.

3. Latrell Mitchell (Kangaroos)


The most dominant centre in the NRL made a brilliant start to his international career, despite clubmate Joesph Manu showing him up a couple of times in his debut against the Kiwis.

Mitchell ran for 160 metres against New Zealand, with three linebreaks, a linebreak assist and a try assist and he also had a linebreak assist and a try assist against Tonga.

4. Joseph Manu (Kiwis)

The Kiwis' centre had a dream debut against the Kangaroos, dominating his Roosters' teammate with ball in hand and was unlucky not to have been named man-of-the-match.

Manu finished with three tackle busts, two offloads, a linebreak, a linebreak assist and a try assist in a complete performance that sets him up for a monster tour of England.

5. Valentine Holmes (Kangaroos)

It is a mark of the brilliance of Holmes that his 87 metres, two linebreaks, one try assist and try against the Kiwis was considered a quiet game.

Holmes backed up that performance with 72 metres, four tackle busts, two linebreaks, five goals and two tries against Tonga, which took his try tally to 17 in 13 Tests.

6. Luke Keary (Kangaroos)

The Clive Churchill Medallist for 2018 had a debut to forget against the Kiwis, after he was knocked out in the 17th minute and did not return.

However, Keary returned to his brilliant best against Tonga, with two linebreak assists and two try assists helping set up a timely win for the Kangaroos.

7. Shaun Johnson (Kiwis)


He may have had the unfamiliar No.6 jersey on his back against the Kangaroos, but it didn't stop Johnson producing a man-of-the-match display to lead the Kiwis to a memorable win.

Johnson had 36 run metres, a tackle bust, an offload, a linebreak assist and a try assist and his kicking game strangled the Kangaroos out of the contest.

8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Kiwis)

The Kiwis' enforcer was the most damaging ball-runner on the field against the Kangaroos, picking up where he left off in the grand final.

JWH finished with a game high 164 quality metres and 22 tackles to set the platform for the Kiwis' backs who ran riot out wide.

9. Josh Hodgson (England)

The England rake faced stiff competition from New Zealand's Brandon Smith and Australia's Damien Cook, but ultimately won out due to his experience.

Hosgson is the glue that holds the England side together and the Kiwis will need to nullify his impact if they are to have success on their tour of the UK.

10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Tonga)

Tonga v Australia 1052576090
Tonga v Australia 1052576090

The Roosters' premiership winner shifted from lock to prop this season and hasn't looked back, carrying his stellar form into Tonga's historic clash with the Kangaroos.

Taukeiaho outshone his front row partner Andrew Fifita, with a monster 178 metre performance that was only beaten by Tedesco's 193.

11. Tevita Pangai Jr (Tonga)

It was a mixed night for the Broncos' enforcer, who was placed on report for his boot coming into contact with Valentine Holmes and the Kangaroos were given a shot at an eight point try.

However Pangai Jr was all class for the rest of the game, running for 122 metres to go with a linebreak, a linebreak assist, a try assist and the first ever try for Tonga against Australia.

12. Boyd Cordner (Kangaroos)

Like many of his teammates, the new Australia skipper was not at his best against the Kiwis, but he still made 82 metres and 33 tackles.

Cordner pulled his team together after a week of criticism following the loss to the Kiwis and led the Kangaroos to an impressive bounce back win over Tonga.

13. Jason Taumalolo (Tonga)

He may have been usurped as the leader of the Sipi Tau by Andrew Fifita, but that there was no doubt who was leading Tonga on the field from start to finish.

Taumalolo is a machine and he punched out 134 metres against Australia to go with three tackle busts, an offload and 13 tackles and he never stopped charging into the defence until the final whistle.


14. Tom Burgess (England)

Early in his career he was considered to be the lesser of the two twins, but Tom Burgess was arguably better than George for the Rabbitohs this season.

Burgess carried his strong form for South Sydney into the international season, with a starring two-try performance against France.

15. George Burgess (England)

George bounced back into form for the Rabbitohs in season 2018, after a number of disappointing years considering the high standards he set in the club's premiership-winning 2014 season.

Without injured brother Sam, England needed other players to step up and George was one of the best against France and is set for a big series against New Zealand.

16. David Klemmer (Kangaroos)

Tonga v Australia 1052575976
Tonga v Australia 1052575976

The Kangaroos prop picked up where he left off for Canterbury against the Kiwis and was the only forward to run for over 100 metres.

Klemmer is one of the most consistent forwards in the game and he backed up against Tonga, with 110 metres from just 12 runs, which was again the most by an Australia forward.

17. Jesse Bromwich (Kiwis)

Waerea-Hargreaves may have outpointed Bromwich against Australia, but the Storm star wasn't far behind in his return to the international arena.

Bromwich ran for 157 metres from 16 runs to go with 19 tackles and he always puts his hand up for the hard carries when his team is under the pump.