TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Daily Telegraph sports editor Phil Rothfield has named his Dally M team of the year with just a handful of weeks remaining in the season.

Second rower Isaiah Papali'i may be the most controversial decision, although there can be no doubting just how good he has been for the Eels this year, playing every game for Brad Arthur's side.

He has 153 metres per game, has tackled at almost 94% efficiency, as well as adding a staggering 93 tackle busts, 29 offloads, and over a kilometre of post-contact metres on his way to seven tries.

ISAIAH PAPALI'I
Lock
Eels
2021 SEASON AVG
1.2
Offloads
0.3
Tries
0.1
Try Assists

Elsewhere, the fullback race will be no doubt hotly-contested come time for the Dally M awards, with so much talent in the position around the competition.

The New South Wales team alone had James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell selected, while Queensland had AJ Brimson, Kalyn Ponga and Valentine Holmes in their squad.

Given his raw influence over the Sea Eagles though and the way they turned things around once he returned to the team from an early-season injury, maybe it's little surprise that Buzz has gone with Trbojevic.

The rest of the team seems to more or less pick itself, although the five-eighth race between Cody Walker and Jarome Luai is an intriguing one, with Buzz going the opposite way of the Blues selectors. His third contender, Adam Doueihi, is also an intriguing option given how poorly the Tigers have performed.

Matt Burton in the centres is also an interesting decision, given Buzz has picked him to beat Justin Olam, although there can be no doubting the depth of centres in the game currently is quite poor.

NSWRL Rd 2 - Mounties v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: Matt Burton of the Panthers runs the ball during the round two NSWRL match between the Mounties and the Penrith Panthers at Bankwest Stadium, on March 20, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Buzz has also picked a rookie and coach of the year, although those options don't seem nearly as surprising, with Sam Walker and Craig Bellamy selected respectively.

Phil Rothfield's Dally M Team of the Year

Fullback: Tom Trbojevic
Wingers: Josh Addo-Carr and Brian To'o
Centres: Joseph Manu and Matt Burton
Five-eighth: Cody Walker
Halfback: Nathan Cleary
Front row: James Fisher-Harris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Hooker: Brandon Smith
Second row: Isaiah Papali'i and David Fifita
Lock: Cameron Murray

Rookie: Sam Walker
Coach: Craig Bellamy