2022 NRL Grand Final - Panthers v Eels
CONSTANT FIXTURE: Clint Gutherson has made more NRL appearances than any other fullback since 2019. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Each year the Dally M Team of the Year is dominated by the sides finishing higher up the ladder.

I don't think that statement is breaking any news.

That said, there's always that bolter or two who make the side despite their club missing out on the business end of the season.

The amount of talent that is either holidaying or sitting at home with their feet up as the finals kick off is absolutely staggering.

So much so that I've put together a best 17 from players whose club missed out on the top eight.

Please note: This 17 is purely for fun and discussion. It's not meant to be a ground-breaking list, and if I left a player from your team out, I promise it isn't personal.

This list is based purely on 2023s performances. For instance, you couldn't name a 17 without Tom Trbojevic if it were based purely on the best available players. He won't feature here.

Some honourable mentions will listed below relevant entries, but below is the best 1 to 17 of players who missed out on finals in 2023:

1. Clint Gutherson
Parramatta may have missed the finals but it was through no fault, nor lack of effort from the King!

19 tries, 14 try assists, 15 line breaks and 75 tackle breaks illustrate how impressive Gutherson was with the ball but he also made three or four try savers that need to be seen to be believed.

With the way the Dally M Team of the Year is awarded, I wouldn't be shocked to see Gutherson rival Ponga for the spot. Reece Walsh and Scott Drinkwater are of course ineligible through suspension.

2. Jamayne Isaako
If, in the pre-season, you had told me that Jamayne Isaako would be the competition's top point scorer in 2023, I'd have laughed in your face.

Isaako became one of the game's most potent attacking weapons and finally delivered on his undoubted promise.

24 tries, 30 line breaks and 104 tackle breaks has him firmly in contention for Team of the Year honours. He was one of the first players picked here.

3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
The Hammer had a magnificent season, albeit mostly at fullback, but if QLD can pick him at centre, so can I.

15 tries, 89 tackle breaks and 11 line breaks only somewhat shows his importance to the NRL's newest side.

If we end up doing a top 10 signings of 2023, Tabuai-Fidow is one name you can expect to see on the list. He and Isaako will battle it out for their player of the year honour.

NRL Rd 4 - Dolphins v Broncos
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Dolphins celebrates scoring a try during the round four NRL match between the Dolphins and Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on March 24, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

4. Campbell Graham
Prior to his injury, Campbell Graham was the form centre of the competition and on track to be given an Origin debut.

He was one South's few shining lights in an otherwise pretty dire season.

16 tries, 21 line breaks and tackling at over 85%, Graham is one Bunny who can hold his head up high in 2023.

5. Alofiana Khan-Pereira
Unfortunately it was another season sans finals football for the Titans, but in Khan-Pereira they have unlocked a good one!

The rookie crossed for 20 tries and made 30 line breaks in his 23 appearances this season. He crossed for double try doubles.

At only 21 year's of age, he is one player who Des Hasler will be hoping to build around in the coming seasons.

Honourable mention: Mikaele Ravalawa

6. Scott Drinkwater
I'm taking liberties here and naming a fullback at five-eighth but given he provided more try assists (25) than both of his halves combined (22) this season, I'm allowing it.

Let me be blunt here. Scott Drinkwater is the only reason that the Cowboys were anywhere near finals contention.

He also crossed for 11 tries, made 14 line breaks and ran for over 150 metres per game, to go with his ridiculous number of try assists.

7. Daly Cherry-Evans
Hyperbole alert! This may have been one of Daly Cherry-Evans best seasons even. Considering his past achievements, that is saying something.

DCE ran a one man ship on the northern beaches at times. Often without a genuine halves partner and with a badly depleted forward pack.

Nine tries, 18 try assists, 19 line break assists, 16 forced drop outs, 88 run metres per game and a tackling percentage of 92.2% make him one of the competition's elite in 2023.

8. Blake Lawrie
Blake Lawrie won the Dragons Player of the Year award a few nights ago and there can be absolutely no argument at all.

The 26 year-old middle man ran for 135 metres per game and tackled at 94% efficiency. They are not breathtaking numbers but considering the side he compiled those stats in, he deserves a second medal.

The Dragons were dire this season. About four players receive pass marks. Lawrie is top of that list, by some way.

9. Apisai Koroisau
Apisai Koroisau is the heart and soul of the Wests Tigers.

He was absolutely magnificent for the large majority of the season despite being in a side who finished dead last.

I don't care what his numbers are, Api was the best hooker in the competition behind only Harry Grant. A magnificent season.

10. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Big Tino signed the mother of all contracts to remain at the Titans for the next decade. If his 2023 is anything to go by, it's money well spent.

Tino was a monster this season, in a side who weren't Finals contenders since about round five or six.

168 run metres per game, over 1200 post contact metres, 52 tackle breaks and 36 offloads make for impressive reading.

11. Haumole Olakau'atu
How Olakau'atu missed out on Origin selection this season will remain one of 2023s most baffling mysteries.

The wide running monster was massive for Manly for the majority of the season. Yes, like his side, he suffered a mid-season form slump but overall he was magnificent.

10 tries, 11 line breaks, nine line break assists, 13 offloads and 126 running metres per game showcase how hard he was to contain.

Olakau'atu is the only player who can lay claim to being anywhere near his captain Daly Cherry-Evans when it came to performance for Manly.

12. David Fifita
Joining Tino in this side is the Titans other marquee man. I'm willing to suggest David Fifita is a genuine shout for Team of the Year honours.

Fifita ran for 145 metres per game, crossed for eight tries, assisted 11 and produced 45 offloads.

Unfortunately for the Titans, the "throw to Fifita and hope" play only took them so far. Fifita himself did everything within his power.

NRL Rd 18 - Titans v Broncos
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: David Fifita of the Titans is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 16, 2022, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

13. J'maine Hopgood
Hopgood is going to go down as one of 2023s very best signings. He was magnificent for the Eels this season.

His 123 run metres per game and 56 offloads made him he perfect complimentary piece to the big men in the middle.

Hopgood went from bit part player for the Panthers to one of the Eels real strike weapons in the span of one off-season. A huge '24 season awaits the future Maroon.

14. Junior Paulo
I actually thought Paulo had a slightly below-par season. Looking at his numbers this more shows what a super player he has been in recent seasons.

147 metres run per game, 42 tackle breaks, 40 offloads and just under 93% tackle completion puts his numbers up against more than most.

At times Paulo leant a one man charge in the engine room for the Eels. His prop partner Campbell Gilliard's long-term injury certainly saw Parra lean on their NSW rep.

15. Connelly Lemuelu
Lemuelu will rate very highly on any bargain signing lists. His 2023 has set him up for a massive future.

His 96 running metres stat is heavily skewed by stints on the bench, injuries sustained early and games at prop. It does show his versatility.

Wayne Bennett has signed a good one in young Lemuelu.

16. Bryce Cartwright
Bryce Cartwight was utterly magnificent in 2023. I almost put him on the run on side. You could absolutely convince me he should have been.

He played 24 times in 2023 for seven tries, seven line breaks, nine line break assists and 52 offloads. He also ran for 111 metres per game and massively improved his defence.

You could argue that Cartwright was arguably the second best performer across the season in blue and gold.

17. Jacob Preston
The Bulldogs rookie won his club's Player of the Year award and, if not for suspension, would have been a top three finish for Rookie of the Year. At worst.

Preston provided one of very few bright spots for the Bulldogs in 2023.

Six tries, 10 line breaks and just under 96% tackle completion indicates that Prestomania may indeed be about to run wild!

Honourable mentions
Toafofoa Sipley
Reuben Cotter