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Which NRL teams have a ‘top 10’ fullback for season 2024?

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Is there a more important position in rugby league than fullback these days?

They’re expected to carry the ball like NFL running backs and ball-play at the line halves. Oh, and have the stamina to run close to a half-marathon every week.

It’s a tough gig.

That’s why ‘fullback money’ is a thing that exists and what emerging outside backs crave the most.

The debate surrounding the NRL’s best fullbacks has reached new heights in the competition this year, with the rise of Dally M winner Kalyn Ponga and Broncos’ Reece Walsh taking the league by storm.

Whatever top 10 we settle on, we’re aware debate will rage in group chats. But please acknowledge we’re determined to build a more balanced and logical list than what you’ll find on other click-hungry publications.

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Where’s the maligned Latrell Mitchell going to slot in?

Only Sports’ best NRL fullbacks for 2024

So here’s our top ten best NRL fullbacks, as we build into the 2024 NRL season.

Note that we’ve considered 2023 form generously, along with what we know they’re capable of, based off previous output.

READ OUR OTHER TOP 10s: WINGERS, CENTRES, HALVES, HOOKERS, EDGE FWDS, MIDDLES

1. Dylan Edwards

When you’re a three-time premiership winning fullback who also has a Clive Churchill Medal under his belt, it’s impossible to not have Edwards at the top of our best NRL fullbacks list.

For the fourth consecutive year he averaged over 190 running metres and a back-to-back 200-plus season to go along with his 155 tackle breaks and 12 tries.

2. Reece Walsh

Leaving the Warriors to come home to the Broncos was always shaping up to be a great move, but not many saw it panning out as well as it did.

Making his Origin debut for Queensland, Walsh was electric in attack setting up 26 tries through his illusive running and incredible skill. All signs point to Reece Walsh being the future of the NRL.

nrl best fullbacks 2024, reece walsh

3. Kalyn Ponga

Coming in at number three on our best NRL fullbacks list is the reigning Dally M medalist, Kalyn Ponga who’s end to 2023 was simply brilliant.

Not known for racking up incredible numbers in the metres department; Ponga shows his greatness in creating opportunities for his teammates with 21 try assists and 96 tackle breaks — fifth amongst fullbacks.

4. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

What a mistake letting Charnze go was from the Raiders! The new Warriors fullback was pivotal in the clubs resurgence to a prelim finals berth in 2023.

Not known for many flashy moments like some of the other best NRL fullbacks, Nicoll-Klokstad made the fewest errors out of any fullback in the league to go along with averaging 189 metres and four tackle breaks a game.

5. James Tedesco

Although on the surface it looked like Tedesco began his gradual decline towards retirement, the champion fullback’s statistics were top shelf ranking in the top five amongst the best NRL fullbacks in tries, average running metres, tackle breaks and fewest errors.

2024 will be an interesting year for Tedesco representative football wise, with the likes of Edwards, Trbojevic and Mitchell keen to take that number one jersey for NSW — plus Ponga and Walsh contending for the Australian jersey.

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Roosters fullback James Tedesco

6. Latrell Mitchell

Injuries and suspension have cost Latrell Mitchell a couple years of his prime, but there’s no denying that Latrell would make an instant impact on any NRL team.

Playing only 16 games this season, Mitchell scored nine tries while breaking near six tackles a match. Hoepfully he can stay fit and healthy in season 2024.

7. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

One of the breakout stars of the 2023 season, ‘The Hammer’ went from bench Cowboys players to Queensland representative in the Dolphins first year.

His electric pace helped him to 15 tries on 148 averaged metres a game and a total of 89 tackle breaks across the season.

nrl best fullbacks 2024, hamiso tabuai-fidow
Dolphins star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

8. Scott Drinkwater

In what was an extremely disappointing season, Scott Drinkwater’s year was impressive, scoring 11 tries on 157 metres a game.

Scott Drinkwater was called into the New South Wales squad for Game III in 2023, meaning he must be on the cards for a call up in the coming years.

9. Tom Trbojevic

Obviously, Tom Trbojevic at this healthiest is a top five fullback, no debate.

Trbojevic only managed 11 games in 2023, four more than the year before, after tearing his pec in Origin.

The state of New South Wales and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles will be hoping that he can stay injury free in order to help both sides right wrongs in 2024.

nrl best fullbacks 2024, tom trbojevic
Luckless Manly star Tom Trbojevic

10. Clint Gutherson

Rounding out our best NRL fullbacks list is Clint Gutherson who’s Parramatta side — after making the grand final in 2022 — missed the finals, but the skipper was definitely not to blame.

Gutherson scored the most tries out of any fullback, to go along with being in the top ten amongst other players in his position for average metres, tackle breaks and fewest errors.

Who do you think is the best fullback in the NRL right now? Comment below.

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