SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 20: Apisai Koroisau of the Panthers looks on during a Penrith Panthers NRL training session at Panthers Stadium on October 20, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The top 50 countdown from the 2021 NRL season moves on to players 40 to 31 on the list today.

The list includes two fullbacks, a hooker, three outside backs and four forwards as we go over the season that was.

Part 1 (50-41)

40. Dale Finucane (Melbourne Storm)
Finucane is the heart and soul of the Melbourne Storm, and will be an enormous loss for the Victorian club in 2022.

The co-captain and rated one of the best players Craig Bellamy has ever coached by the man himself, Finucane was at his rock solid best in the middle third for most of 2021.

He did battle at times with injury, but the Bega-born veteran had a high tackle efficiency and ran the ball excellently when it came to post-contact metres and the ability to break the line.

Will be a superb pick up for the Sharks.

DALE FINUCANE
Lock
Storm
2021 SEASON AVG
0.3
Offloads
0.1
Tries
0.1
Try Assists

39. Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Gagai's club form has been laughed at in previous season when compared to what he has been able to produce in the State of Origin arena, but that wasn't the case in 2021.

No longer were Rabbitohs' fans calling for Gagai to wear a maroon jumper under his club one.

Instead, Gagai cemented himself in the formidable Rabbitohs' left edge, allowing winger Alex Johnston to make it look easy more often than he didn't.

While Johnston claimed the accolades, and Cody Walker racked up the official try assists, there is no doubt that at both ends of the park, Gagai made Wayne Bennett's side stronger in every way possible.

DANE GAGAI
Wing
Rabbitohs
2021 SEASON AVG
0.4
Tries
126.6
All Run Metres
15.8
Tackles Made

38. Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
The Melbourne winger who is off to the kennel in 2022 has had yet another big season. Scoring tries for fun on the edge for a Melbourne team who regularly put up points, he was one of the first picked for the New South Wales State of Origin team.

23 tries in 22 games, to go with seven assists show his danger in attack.

But it is in defence where Addo-Carr has made the biggest strides in the last few years, and that continued in 2021.

JOSH ADDO-CARR
Wing
Storm
2021 SEASON AVG
1
Tries
122.8
All Run Metres
4.8
Tackles Made

37. David Fifita (Gold Coast Titans)
Some would have Fifita higher on this list, and others would have him lower. As much as the same could be said about almost everyone, Fifita seems to polarise rugby league fans more than just about any other.

At his best, he is absolutely damaging, and would likely have been named to the Dally M team of the year had it not been for suspension.

His best seemed to come off the bench for Justin Holbrook late in the year, when he had a tendency to flip games on their head within minutes.

His worst though was a different story, and did come out from time to time.

That's what you're going to get with a player like Fifita though. If he finds a way to become consistent, he could fly up this list.

DAVID FIFITA
Second-row
Titans
2021 SEASON AVG
20.6
Tackles Made
0.7
Tries
6.6
Tackle Breaks

36. Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers)
Koroisau's form certainly tailed off during the 2021 season. Not to an extreme level, but it was certainly noticeable just how important he is to Penrith's attack during the second half of the year.

Koroisau is one of the better ball-runners out of dummy half, and it shows. He was able to provide Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai time and space during that incredible start to the season, where Penrith won 12 on the hop in the leadup to Origin 1.

He got that form back during the finals though, and while he wasn't at his absolute best, he wasn't far away as Penrith took out a famous premiership.

APISAI KOROISAU
Hooker
Panthers
2021 SEASON AVG
37.9
Tackles Made
0.2
Tries
0.1
LB Assists

35. Reece Walsh (New Zealand Warriors)
Walsh had a boom rookie year for the Warriors. Relatively unheard of at the beginning of the year, dedicated Brisbane fans turned their nose up in horror at the idea of the kid leaving.

And that wasn't without reason.

It's a reason Walsh proved time and time again once he arrived at the Warriors, even knocking Roger Tuivasa-Sheck out of the fullback spot for a portion of the year.

He may not have been the most consistent, but he did everything he needed to do and more to prove he could hang at the top level.

REECE WALSH
Fullback
Warriors
2021 SEASON AVG
0.6
Tries
0.7
Try Assists
3.3
Tackle Breaks

34. Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights)
The Newcastle fullback spent a chunk of the year out injured, but when he played, the difference for the Knights was a times immeasurable.

You only need to look at his single Origin performance - a game Queensland won - to know how well he played for most of his games this season.

He wasn't the best of the best, but he certainly was the best in the Hunter from an attacking standpoint, and one has to wonder where the Knights might have ended up if he played the full season.

KALYN PONGA
Fullback
Knights
2021 SEASON AVG
0.5
Tries
0.9
Try Assists
4.8
Tackle Breaks

33. Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm)
Welch is one of the first picked in the Queensland side at State of Origin time, and it's little surprise.

Being injured just minutes into the first game of this year's Game 1 could have flipped the script for the first two games of the series, so important is the Melbourne forward.

He is a rock in the middle forward for Craig Bellamy's side at both ends of the park, and will continue to be so in 2022.

CHRISTIAN WELCH
Prop
Storm
2021 SEASON AVG
131.4
All Run Metres
0.1
Tries
1.1
Tackle Breaks

32. Haumole Olokau’atu (Manly Sea Eagles)
Wrecking ball comes to mind when you're working out how to describe another of Manly's boom youngsters.

Olokau'atu is a giant on the right edge for the Sea Eagles, and proved that way for much of the season. His devastating size and strength make him one of the toughest players in the competition to tackle, illustrated by eight tries and seven line breaks, as well as 17 offloads.

He may have quietened a little at the back end of the season, but that may not be a surprise given his NRL career had just seven games across two seasons before 2021. Should be better even better in 2022 for the run.

31. Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)
Manu is one of the most dangerous players the NRL has to offer - of that there can be no doubt.

The centre, who wants to play at fullback, was one of the Roosters best in an injury-ravaged Roosters side up until Latrell Mitchell ended his season.

His versatility to play so many points gave Trent Robinson options when at times he seemed just about out of them, and wherever he elects to sign next, he will be valuable beyond words.

JOSEPH MANU
Centre
Roosters
2021 SEASON AVG
0.3
Try Assists
0.3
LB Assists
0.4
Tries

The list so far

50. Connor Watson
49. Moeaki Fotuaika
48. Keaon Koloamatangi
47. Reuben Garrick
46. Josh Schuster
45. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
44. Angus Crichton
43. Harry Grant
42. Adam Doueihi
41. Viliame Kikau
40. Dale Finucane
39. Dane Gagai
38. Josh Addo-Carr
37. David Fifita
36. Apisai Koroisau
35. Reece Walsh
34. Kalyn Ponga
33. Christian Welch
32. Haumole Olokau'atu
31. Joseph Manu