Fullback. Five-eighth. Halfback. Hooker. These are the four key playing positions that form the backbone of a rugby league team.

With the 2019 season kicking off in a few weeks, we have rated each club's spine.

Who do you think has the best backbone in the NRL?


16. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

  1. Will Hopoate 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Kieran Foran 9. Michael Lichaa

Other options: Nick Meaney, Fa'amanu Brown, Jack Cogger, Jeremy Marshall-King

The Bulldogs are set to debut a new halves pairing with Foran returning from injury to join young Lachlan Lewis. The names Hopoate and Foran used to frighten any opposition but in recent years, their form has eluded them.

There's still some mystery as to whether Dean Pay will select Hopoate at fullback or in the centres which could open up an opportunity for Nick Meaney.

If Hopoate and Foran can get back into career best form, they can take the Bulldogs further than most people are expecting them to in 2019.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Kieran Foran of the Bulldogs passes during the round four AFL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on March 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


  1. Well according to the “spine ratings” it will be a Sydney Roosters vs souffs Grand Final, only problem is souffves Sydney has the rejected sacked ex Brisbane coach Bennett to tutor them.💪🐔👍 Don’t like souffves Sydney’s coach credentials in his retirement age.

  2. Panthers if they really want to win. Send Maloney out on a high and stuff this year should throw James Seggy a lifeline and give him say 250k 1 year deal. Obviously he doesn’t have a club and would take the money. Think the Panthers should keep the young players they have but Seggy is obviously a class above and would drive a forward pack of Tamou, Fisher-Harris and co around the feild better and pick holes at the defense to exploit. A 1 year deal says if you go well you may get another deal but either way you’ll earn more and be playing and we will also win more games.

    Side note; not sure if I rate Egan or Katoa yet so would possibly be looking to snag Reece Robson away from the Dragons. He’s said to have a huge future ahead of him and he’s on an expiring deal stuck behind Cam McInnes. He would form a lethal combo with Edwards Luai Cleary all being under 24

  3. I can only assume there’s something more to the Seggy story.
    He would be a good fit (as a player) at several clubs, incl. Parra, but he’s still not signed, anywhere?
    I know he has some “discipline issues”, and has had some “off field issues”, but I can’t help but think there’s still more to this.

  4. Mate, he would have to be a handy pick up for parra. I cant see any other team really having a crack at him unless they want a bench player as a backup hooker. Though this never worked for Saints in the time we had Mitch Rein.

  5. Completely agree the main area panthers are lacking is a decent hooker. Like you I’m not sold on katoa or Egan

  6. Agreed Pedro, but that’s what makes me think there’s more to the the ‘Seggy story’.
    With Norman gone (because I could see an arguememt to not have him and Seggy in the same side), our inexperienced spine, our available cash, this late in the off season etc, and nothing/no offer, not from anyone?

    P.S Pedro, if your spine fire (combine), I’d have it as no. 1.

  7. Well its seems that the Pennies / Cowz have said they dont want him (back) – the others look like they have it covered. So i guess he will keep poring coffee as a barista for flo’ Espresso… .
    Wonder whats up. >?

  8. You could all be correct about the Penrith hookers. Although Egan was a halfback made into a hooker at Penrith. Last session was his first year playing any first grade & he had to play mostly behind Wallace & Katoa.
    Egan ( as a former halfback ) has good pace & it was more his passing game last year that was a problem area. Still, he has shown that he knows where the try line is in lower grades . With better coaching & with another former half turned hooker in Wallace to help. He may yet surprise as a first grade hooker.
    Cook was no instant success in first grade either.

  9. The Roosters sure aren’t going to be there. The crime syndicate 13 beats a team with about 6 NRL worthy players in it the other day and you guys think that you are favourites…you’re kidding. They shouldn’t even let you guys in the comp!! your board is full of organised crime figures.

  10. Sounds like you have been eating too many magic mushrooms. There is a really good rehab down in Surry Hills mate, jump on the fast train to Central and ask the nearest bloke with a brown paper bag wrapped around a bottle where William Booth is. They will cure your nuttism.😲😮😕🙃😖😩😵😠🤪🤪🤒

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