While we wait for the National Rugby League to kick off, let’s take a look at the pre-season favorites for the top point scorer for the 2017 season.
2016 saw Jarrod Croker claim his second consecutive scoring title, grabbing his team, the Canberra Raiders 276 points throughout the regular season. He blew the competition out of the water, beating runner up James Maloney (185) by almost 100 points.
The 2017 favorites should be no surprises for anyone. The big names of the last few years– Mahoney, Johnathan Thurston, Shaun Johnson — also remain the top contenders for the upcoming season.
Here are the odds!
Odds To Be The Top Point Scorer In The 2017 NRL Season:
Jarrod Croker: 3/2
Croker narrowly beat out Maloney in 2015, but 2016 saw him break away, with 276 points to Maloney’s 185. He’s the key to the Raider’s recent success, and at just 26 years old, he’s got a lot more to give.
The goal-kicking center is already the highest point scorer in Raiders history and was awarded the Dally M Captain of the year award last season.
It will take something extraordinary to outscore the young center this season.
James Maloney: 5/1
Maloney was the top point scorer in 2014 along with Thurston, who both claimed 234 points that season. Since then, he has played second fiddle to Croker.
Maloney played a crucial role in taking the Cronulla Sharks to their 2016 Grand Final win. 2017 will be his second season with the Sharks, and he’ll come into the year hot off their Premiership win.
Jordan Kahu: 13/2
The young and versatile Kiwi took 112 points in 2016. An impressive number but not enough to hold a torch to Maloney or Croker. But the 25-year-old has shown a lot of promise and 2017 may be his breakout year.
He’s the dark horse in the race. He has a lot of potential and promise, but has yet to really deliver.
Johnathan Thurston: 7/1
The four-time Dally M medalist and two-time Premiership winner is always a favorite for the top point scorer accolade. He shared the prize in 2014 with Maloney, and came in tied for second last year (again, tied with Maloney).
The Queenslander is on his way to becoming the most decorated player in NRL history. Top point scorer in 2017 would be just another one of his many awards if he were to win it.
Shaun Johnson: 8/1
The 2014 Golden-boot winner is consistently in the running for top point scorer but has never quite reached the top. That may be due to the fact that he plays for the New Zealand Warriors, a team that doesn’t score too many points to begin with. But there could be chemistry with new halves partner Kieran Foran, which could energize Johnson, and the squad.
Photo credit: “JARROD CROKERl” by Naparazzi, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.