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Experts view: Which player would be best to clone?

If you had the ability to clone an NRL player to form a team, who would you choose?

That player would fill every position on field and also be the team's goal-kicker, plus the four bench spots.

Would you choose an all-rounder who could fill most positions or go with a power-packed forward who gets you plenty of territory but may not have the finesse of a back. 

Or would you pick a playmaker or an outside back and trust their cloned counterparts to do the grunt work up front.

This debate has been kicking around the newsroom for the past couple of months so we thought we'd put our experts to the test to see who they'd choose for their All-Clone XIII. experts views

Brad Walter ( senior reporter)

Kieran Foran: Pound for pound there are few players tougher and while his playmaking skills are widely renowed, he has also changed the momentum of matches with brutal defence to help his team to victory.

Foran is a clever footballer, with an astute kicking game, but he has also been known to make the tough carries from his own line and could played anywhere in the spine or back row and has played in the centres. 

Last time they met: Roosters v Storm - Preliminary final, 2019

Margie McDonald ( senior reporter)

Cameron Smith: We all know his dominance at hooker and as a goal kicker (led the NRL at end of 2019 season). But his work ethic in the tackling department means he could fill second row and lock with ease. He’s often called a second halfback at Storm – and when Cooper Cronk left, Smith played some No.7 in 2018 even with the No.9 on his back.

His ball skills and pinpoint pass would make him an asset on the edge and in the centres. The only issue is whether Smith has the speed in the legs for fullback – to return kicks and move laterally quickly in cover defence.

Paul Suttor ( editor)

Cameron Munster would be the perfect player to clone to fill all positions. He's agile enough to have Munsters filling all the back-line spots, he could get the ball out of dummy half nicely and can also kick goals. A pack of Munsters wouldn't be the biggest going around but he'd have the size to lay a decent platform for the Munsters out wide to do their thing.

Last time they met: Warriors v Bulldogs - Round 1, 2019

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

When opposition teams are preparing to play the Broncos, Payne Haas is a player they focus on. He creates absolute havoc on the field and despite being only young, his strength and ability to break the line makes him dangerous no matter where he is on the field.

He may not have the kicking game or pace of other players, but one Haas is hard enough to handle - can you imagine 17 of them? Although his goal-kicking skills are somewhat unknown.

Chris Kennedy ( reporter)

Seventeen Wade Grahams will do the job. He’s big enough to not get run over by a team of 17 Taumalolos or Fifitas, mobile enough not to be run ragged by a team of 17 Pongas or Tedescos, and as a former five-eighth his blend of passing, kicking and physicality make him the near perfect all-rounder.

My 17 Wades would get in attacking range regularly then lay on enough pin-point grubbers and cut-out passes to rack up plenty of points. He's not one for taking shots at goal but he’d put the gettable ones over.

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Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy guru)

Your dream player for this question has ideally played in several positions, has the speed, power and evasiveness of an outside back, the skill and a long kicking game of a half, good goal-kicking, and the size of a forward - say 100+ kilos and 190cm.

One player who provides all that is enigmatic Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell. Who needs consistency when you’ve got 13 potential match-winners on the the field at all times?

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

Jason Taumalolo: He is one of my favourite players and his skill set is incredible. Not only do you have an amazing runner of the ball, there's footwork, silky passing and footy smarts in one package. He's good at everything so he could kick goals given the opportunity. 

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Martin Lenehan ( senior journalist)

Cameron Murray is the prototype of the modern-day NRL star and possesses all the skills, heart and aggression necessary to run a team, run all night, run the water and run a hundred metres in quick time if he takes an intercept on his own try line. The 22-year-old lock hits hard and often in defence, he can bust the line and he’s a winner – a trait sure to rub off on his teammates. In this case, himself.

Alicia Newton ( reporter)

Connor Watson can play anywhere in the spine and wouldn’t look out of place in the rest of the back line. Adam O’Brien had him filling in at lock in the first two rounds. He’s not the biggest guy but isn’t afraid of taking a hit-up in the middle. If you put him on an edge he’d run a decent line. Not sure if he can kick a goal though. 

Troy Whittaker ( reporter)

Utility value is the key and is there a more versatile NRL player than Kurt Capewell? He might not be a superstar, but the Panthers recruit can do a fine job practically anywhere on the field.

Equally at home in the back row or centres, you can chuck the reliable former Shark on the wing or in the middle in a pinch too. Agile enough to trouble the big men and mix it with the backs, a team of Capewells would cause a fair few upsets.

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Kenny Scott ( podcaster)

You can’t beat a team of Turbos. Tom Trbojevic is fast, strong, and hungry for the ball. He might not be the biggest on the field but he’s not afraid to put his body on the line to make a tackle.

While his style of play often leaves Manly fans with their hearts in their mouths at the thought of him getting injured, in this scenario any injured Turbos get replaced by another Turbo from the bench. The team would be unstoppable.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.