The best and most important players in the NRL are often spine players.

All of the top teams have a number of excellent players in the spine, and the Dally M Medal count was dominated by spine players in 2021.

While fullback Tom Trbojevic won it, the top five was made up of halves Nathan Cleary, Cody Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans, while another fullback rounded it out with James Tedesco finishing fifth.

All of those players are at the peak of their powers, and their teams made up those going deep into the finals.

There could be a change a foot for 2022 though, with a few bottom-eight teams from 2021 appearing in the top eight of this list.

Yesterday, we ran through the bottom eight spines in the competition, and now, it's time for the top eight.

Here is the list.


8. Canberra Raiders

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jack Wighton, Jamal Fogarty, Tom Starling

Jamal Fogarty seems the perfect signing for Canberra after a 2021 in which they looked rudderless at times.

Given the side had gotten off to a poor start with George Williams in the fold though, him leaving was always going to leave the green machine a little more than a bit short in attacking creativity.

Fogarty needs to take charge of the Raiders and let Jack Wighton roam freely and make chances with his superb running game and vision for the contest.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad also needs to find his groove quickly, or he risks being shifted out wide and being replaced by Xavier Savage, who isn't completely out of the running to make a Round 1 start at the back as it stands following some impressive form in Canberra's two trials - one of which Nicoll-Klokstad missed due to the coronavirus.

If Ricky Stuart nails the Josh Hodgson and Tom Starling partnership this year and the halves click, we could see the Raiders return to September action this season.