With the off-seasis on comes the usual troupes.
Talk of expansion, the divisions talk, player movements and of course post-season rankings.
Today we're here to focus on the rankings. More specifically, the NRL bench specialists and their rankings from 2023.
Please keep in mind that these rankings are based only on 2023.
To qualify, a player must have played off the bench on a majority of appearances. They also cannot appear anywhere else in the rankings. i.e. Cam McInnes ranked in the top locks and thus won't be seen here.
Before we start, I'm going to take a moment to answer some of the usual questions to appear in the comments to any sort of rankings.
Do I even watch football? Yes, every game.
Are my eyes painted on? No. That would be funny though.
Who am I? Just a fan.
With that said, below are the top ten NRL bench specialists based purely and totally on 2023:
10. Tom Starling
I'm not going to make too many fans in Canberra for this but I cannot understand why Tom Starling is not the starting hooker for the Raiders.
All the spark from dummy half seems to come when he is on the field. That is no coincidence.
Starling's 2023 consisted of 23 appearances, 22 from the bench, leading to three tries, six try assists, five line break assists, two forced drop outs and almost 40 metres a game.
He also tackled at over 92%. I can't help but feel like Ricky Stuart missed a trick by not starting him far more often.