Sam Burgess.
Sam Burgess. Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Burgess named best in our team of the season

THREE Englishmen and six State of Origin stars have made APN's inaugural NRL Team of the Year for 2014.

During the year APN's rugby league writers, Wayne Heming, Tony Durkin and Josh Spasaro, selected the best 13 players after each of the 26 rounds of the NRL's minor premiership.

Players featuring in most sides earned a place in its team of the year.

There are a few surprise selections, such as under-rated Canberra centre Jarrod Croker.

But there are also a few glaring omissions such as South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis and Melbourne, Queensland and Australian captain Cameron Smith.

Twenty-five year-old West Yorkshire-born Sam Burgess walked away with APN's Player of the Year.

Burgess's incredible consistency and amazing stats for South Sydney earned him team selection 11 times - three more appearances than the next best, North Queensland representative prop, Matt Scott (eight).

Melbourne's Will Chambers and Newcastle's BJ Leilua had she same number of appearances as Team of the Year centres Croker and Dylan Walker (five) but missed out on a countback.

Rampaging Jesse Bromwich (six) also enjoyed a breakout season for the Storm but he too missed on a front-row spot to Scott and Englishman James Graham (six).

Victorious NSW hooker Farah was selected in six weekly teams to take the No.9 jumper from Smith and Brisbane's Andrew McCullough, who both made four teams and Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis (three).

Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne turned fullback - which should have been the most hotly contested position - into a one-man show, despite world-class opposition from Billy Slater, Inglis, Brett Stewart, Anthony Minichiello, another classy Englishman, Sam Tomkins, and exciting newcomers Matt Moylan and Michael Morgan.

The halves was another keenly contested battle but by season's end North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston, a strong chance to claim his third Dally M Player of the Year gong, emerged a clear choice as halfback, making seven weekly teams.

Dragons' No.6 Gareth Widdop claimed the No.6 with seven appearances during the season.

Over the 26 weeks of the regular season, 90 players were selected in APN teams of the week.

Three players from the Team of the Year, Thurston, Hayne and Burgess, are expected to fight out voting for the prestigious 2014 Dally M Player of the Year, the winner to be named at a black tie dinner in Sydney before the October 5 grand final.



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