Welcome back to the Goose Step!
Kicking on from the ladies, we come to the final part of the Men’s.
As voted by the players.
See the first 11-20 places here
So lets take a look at the Men’s list of the top 20 players players in our male competition, finishing with 10 to 1….
10. Gus Marshall – Joondalup Giants – Halves
Nickname – “General Clutch”
In 10th spot is not someone who drags the highlights, but someone who the smart minds in our game have acknowledged is a big part of why the Giants have been a big success over the last few years. Marshall has one of the best all round kicking games in the competition. Long, short, high, along the ground, goal kicking. You name it. And it is his game awareness that has led to the Giants winning their close games more often than not. Which means he comes in clutch late in games. An 108th minute field goal in a grand final would also do the trick…
9. Ethan Gourgaud – South Perth Lions – Backrow
Nickname – “Leader Of The Pride”
Gourgauds rise as interesting talent to leader of the South Perth Lions has been meteoric when you look at the outside in. A handy backrower and centre in previous years, he has risen to the captaincy of the lions in 2023, and has epitomized what they are about. Aggression, with and without the ball, was a trademark of his game this year, as he threw himself into every contest with no regard for what happened to himself. A skillful backrower who can cover many spots, he has great late footwork, and is ultra smart defensively, normally being given the hard defensive assignments.
8. Joell Irvine – Joondalup Giants – Front Row
Nickname – “The Maori Giant”
When taking votes for the players player, many players were asked for their 3-2-1 votes for the season. If they didn’t know the names, they were asked to describe them. The amount of guys who said “the prop from the giants, that maori guy, with the moustache and leg tattoo” was almost comical. And it has stuck. Joell has transformed into one of the best prop forwards in the game. An ex centre, his superior leg speed and footwork have turned him into a nightmare for defenders when he has the ball in his hands. With an offload and an ability to sniff out the try line, he continues to get better with age.
7. Trent Trotter – North Beach Sea Eagles – Hooker
Nickname – “La Baba Yaga”
A loose translation of this Russian term is “The Boogeyman” and if you’ve seen the John Wick movies, you’ll recognise what an omen that is for his opponents. And Trent has had a similar effect on his opposition teams since his move West many years ago. One of the best hookers to grace our shores, he is lightning out of dummy half and if your markers don’t do their job, he will tear defences apart from the inside out. Very fit and containing no fear, he leads the defensive line and gets involved in the tough stuff with no hesitation. A name that the opposition teams are always on the look out for.
6. Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards – Rockingham Sharks – Lock
Nickname – “The Kingpin”
The 2022 Ken Allen and Players Player winner, Keelyn is a big man who was at the top of the pile last year. And much like the Marvel Villain Kingpin, he is more than just big. He is mobile, skillful and faster than given credit for. An absolute handful for defenders, he is impossible to stop one on one, and can will himself over the tryline. Not just your typical brute, he is also a great kicker of the football, has a beautiful sidestep and can pass before the line or offload like he is playing in the backyard. A massive physical presence on the field and one of the really nice guys off it.
5. Kade McDonald – North Beach Sea Eagles – Backline
Nickname – “Backyard Brilliance”
Cameron Munster like. Is probably the easiest way to explain Kade. He just does whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. And if it works it works. And if it doesn’t…. well he has forgotten about it already. An amazing talent, he has all the speed, ability and evasiveness any player could ever ask for in one player. Is epic in the air, can kick, pass, offload and break through a line at will. Impossible to play within a structure, it seems to be to just let him have it on a late tackle, and just let him go to work. A brilliant match winner, the key is managing his error rate, while harnessing his talent.
4. Duane Butler – Fremantle Roosters – Lock
Nickname – “The Professional”
One of the closest things you will get to seeing an NRL player in the flesh in WA, introducing Duane Butler. The Ken Allen Medal winner in 2023, he literally does all the little things well, and the big things awesome. Leads the tackle and hit up count almost every game, its rumored he gets annoyed when not topping both counts at the Roosters. A brutal competitor, he turns up to every game with the same professional attitude and is intense throughout the entirety of the contest. Can play almost any position on the field due to his football savy, he has made a home at lock and has shown with his ball playing ability that he can be that link man in the middle of the field. A brilliant player.
3. Bailey Millar – North Beach Sea Eagles – Fullback
Nickname – “Quicksilver”
You cannot coach speed. It is the one truism in sports that continues to hold. And while you can get a bit faster with training, true pace is something you have or you don’t. Bailey has it in bucketloads. He can accelerate from a standing stop, and has a top line speed that has seen him drag in some of the quickest players in our game. And being fast with the ball in hand is not easy, but Bailey glides along the grass with aplomb. And he gained something in his second year in the seniors. Toughness. While he was always brave, he has become a tough ball carrier and can push through defenders. A scary proposition in the open field.
2. Delane Edwards – Fremantle Roosters – Anywhere
Nickname – “The Platinum Trophy”
The only player to repeat on the men’s list, Delane Edwards represents the highest level of respect in rugby league in WA. Age will not weary him, as he improves from 4th to 2nd on our list from 2021. And he just seems to keep on keeping on. A true baller who can play in any position, he understands and sees the game at such a high level, that he is a joy to watch. Demanding a high standard of everyone around him, he never asks anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. A brilliant tactician, and brilliant footballer, rugby league in this state is richer for having Delane in it.
1. Paora Kemp – Fremantle Roosters – Fullback
Nickname – “Nothings Impossible”
The freakish things that Paora Kemp did on the field this year boggled the mind. The perfect example of someone who is as good a playmaker as they are a finisher is epitomized by Paora’s game this year. He regularly tore teams apart this season for the Roosters, whether it was with his running game, footwork and speed, or setup his fellow players with his passing or kicking game. His sleight of hand and skillset was unmatched as he did what he liked on the field, and basically made incredibly hard things look easy. A true weapon and unmatched with the ball this hand this season.
And that’s a wrap for the Men’s Player’s Player list. Again its selected by the players during the regular season for 2023, and there are so many brilliant players on this list and off it in WA.
Lets hope for a bigger and better season in 2024!