SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Kalyn Ponga of the Knights is tackled by Nathan Cleary of the Panthers during the round 23 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Newcastle Knights at Panthers Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Here is Zero Tackle’s NRL Rookie Team of the Year for the 2018 season.

Players who played more than ten first grade games prior to this season were not eligible for this list.


1. Fullback: Kalyn Ponga

This generations version of the Bulldogs opting not to re-sign Johnathan Thurston to retain older talent, the North Queensland Cowboys will rue the day they allowed ‘KP’ to walk for the next ten plus year.

At just twenty years of age, the talented fullback sits tenth in the NRL for try assists (14), third for tackle breaks (108), third for line break assists (19) and 17th for line breaks (14).

In his first full season of first grade, Ponga has already represented Queensland at State of Origin level, was at the overwhelming favourite, at one stage this season, for the Dally M Medal and is tipped to represent the Australian Kangaroos at season’s end.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 02: Kalyn Ponga of the Knights in action during the round 13 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


    • He played first grade with the Cowboys a couple of seasons ago. Whos cares if a player has been suspended, it is a rookie of the year not the best and fairest. The prize should be Radley’s

  1. Ponga debuted in 2016 finals series there is no way he is a 2018 rookie. He is however contender for buy of the season.

  2. He is clearly not eligible but my vote is for Pengai jnr.

    I had never heard of him until this year (so a rookie in my mind).

    • We need facts not make believe stories in your mind. Unbelievable Phoenix, wake up and smell the roses and keep up with the times, Pengai Jnr is not eligible. Victor Radley is the real deal Rookie of the year but unfortunately he will miss out due to a suspension.

    • Having one good game doesn’t make you the best rookie in your position. Jamayne Isaako has been way more consistent this year & Reimis debuted in 2016 played that 1 game & hadn’t played again til a few weeks ago so he doesn’t really count anyway.

  3. Jahrome Hughes, granted he’s played mostly 7 this year for the Storm..but when he replaced Slater for Full back he was mean…so good Bellamy kept him in the team when Billy came back…putting him at 7…looks like he’s got the full back position on lock…when Billy retires.

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