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RLPA Players' Champion finalists: Tedesco, Papalii, Cleary, RTS, Keary

Five players who've had undeniably stellar seasons are in the running for the Rugby League Players’ Association's top individual honour.

The RLPA on Thursday announced a star-studded list of finalists for The Players’ Champion with players from across the Telstra Premiership voting for Nathan Cleary, Luke Keary, Josh Papalii, James Tedesco and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the five best performers in 2020.

The winner of the prestigious award will be announced live on Nine’s coverage of the grand final on Sunday, October 25.

Cleary has enjoyed a superb season, leading Penrith's push to the minor premiership and just one win away from a place in the title decider.

The other finalist set to take the field this weekend in the preliminary finals is Papalii, with the Canberra prop the only forward to feature on the list after an outstanding campaign for the Green Machine.

Tedesco and Keary were dominant throughout the Roosters' premiership defence before bowing out to Canberra last weekend. Tedesco will be looking to add a third Players’ Champion trophy to his cabinet, having won the award in 2017 and 2019.

Tuivasa-Sheck proved that you do not have to be in a top-eight side to be considered amongst the best by your peers. The Warriors fullback made more running metres (3974) than any other player in this year's regular season, despite featuring in just 18 of the 20 games.

“To be recognised among the best five players in the competition by your peers is a significant achievement,” RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said.

“We would like to congratulate Nathan, Luke, Josh, James and Roger on their outstanding performances this year.

“They have each played a key role in providing first-class entertainment for the wider community, despite encountering the most challenging of circumstances and conditions this season.

“All five finalists would be worthy winners of this year’s award.”

Finalists for The Players’ Champion – NRLW will be announced next Thursday following the conclusion of the regular season this weekend.

The Players’ Champion – NRL Finalists 2020

  • Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
  • Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters)
  • Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
  • James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
  • Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)