Youngsters line up for No.1 NRL fullback title
SOUTH Sydney custodian Greg Inglis started 2015 as rugby league's best fullback.
But a month out from the NRL finals, and with the Rabbitohs faltering, Inglis has a group of players, led by Roosters sensation
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and young Tigers dynamo James Tedesco, throwing down the gauntlet for the title of Fullback of the Year.
Add Dragons and New South Wales No.1 Josh Dugan, Manly's Brett Stewart, Bronco Darius Boyd, Cowboy Lachlan Coote, Bulldog Brett Morris and injured duo Matt Moylan (Penrith) and Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm) to the list, and suddenly you have a crop of fullbacks as good as any in recent years.
So which No.1 is number one?
Tuivasa-Sheck's stats suggest he is the game's most lethal fullback - his 4962 metres run this season is the most by any player.
In round five against Cronulla, the Warriors-bound Tuivasa-Sheck clocked up an incredible, and extremely rare, 339m.
The sizzling Samoan hasn't slowed down since, producing 242m and three tries against the Knights last Sunday.
But young Tedesco, with 3101m - third on the metres-made list - and a stack of line breaks, is quickly winning over more admirers with the exciting way he plays the game.
Dugan comes in fifth in run metres with 3036, giving fullbacks three of the top five positions in that statistical category.
Among the fullbacks, Tedesco gets the nod in line breaks after picking up another three in Monday night's 20-18 win over Canberra to move to 14 for the season, in a category dominated by wingers.
He also has 15 tries to his name, putting him just three behind the leader, blockbusting Parramatta winger Semi Radradra, after a stunning try from inside his own half against the Raiders.
So taking everything into account, run metres, line breaks, try assists, missed tackles, errors and consistency, the number one ranking is a photo finish between Tuivasa-Scheck and Tedesco, both brilliant young fullbacks who can change a game in the blink of an eye.
Inglis keeps his place in the top three, but only just ahead of Dugan who has been instrumental in the Dragons turning around a form slump.
There is very little between Dugan, Slater and young excitement machine Moylan, with Coote very reliable, but not as dangerous.
They could all have another rival in a year or two though, with boom Manly youngster Tom
Trbojevic rated the hottest young player in the game.