Casino halfback Trevor Bolt in action.
Casino halfback Trevor Bolt in action. Brian Olive

The top 10 best players to watch in NRRRL this season

1. Todd Carney (Byron Bay)

Todd Carney in Byron Bay after taking up a coaching role with the Red Devils.
Todd Carney at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay last month. Marc Stapelberg

Big name signing and will have plenty of eyes on him in every game he plays for Byron Bay.

The former NRL star has all the skills and the team behind him to make a serious impact in the competition.


2. Jamie Lyon (Ballina)

Former NRL player Jamie Lyon will return to the field as captain-coach at Ballina in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League next season.
Former NRL player Jamie Lyon is returning to the field as captain-coach at Ballina. Mitchell Craig

More star power from the NRL and comes to the Northern Rivers having achieved just about everything in the game after playing for Australia and NSW in State of Origin.

Lyon has been retired for two years but will bring plenty to a Ballina side already full of talent.


3. Shannon Walker (Kyogle)

Kyogle fullback Shannon Walker on the run for the Turkeys against Murwillumbah in NRRRL at the weekend.
Kyogle fullback Shannon Walker on the run during his last stint at the Turkeys in NRRRL. Danielle Doolan

Late signing for the Turkeys and the enigmatic fullback has the ability to light-up the competition.

Walker played a handful of NRL games for the Gold Coast and is a former Australian rugby sevens star.


4. Toby McIntosh (Murwillumbah)

Played Queensland Cup for Burleigh Bears last season and won a premiership and the NRRRL player of the year award at Murwillumbah in 2016.

He was dynamic at fullback then and will be even better this season having gained more size and experience.


5. Trevor Bolt (Casino)

The shackles will be off this season and he will have more freedom to run the ball with Roy Bell joining him in the halves.

Only a few players in NRRRL can win a game off their own individual performance and Bolt is one of them.


6. Jason McGrady (Mullumbimby)

Comes to the club with an impressive CV which includes time in the NRL under-20s, NSW Cup, Queensland Cup and Ron Massey Cup.

He played first grade from a young age and had plenty of NRL clubs chasing him as a teenager; he should be a big addition at the Giants.


7. Zac Beecher (Ballina)

Ballina's Zac Beecher breaking through Byrons defence during the Ballina v Byron Bay NRRRL Grand final. September 14, 2014. 
Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Northern Star
Ballina hooker Zac Beecher is back after a two-year hiatus. Nolan Verheij-Full

Returns from a two-year hiatus and played hooker for NSW Country as a 19-year-old when it was still an open competition in 2016.

Beecher already has an explosive running game and is coming back from two years playing centre in rugby union.


8. Roy Bell (Casino)

Roy Bell is coming back to Casino to captain-coach the Cougars in NRRRL next season.
Roy Bell is back at Casino as captain-coach. Marc Stapelberg

He seems to be getting better with age and returns to Casino having been one of the best halfbacks in the competition at Mullumbimby last year.

Another player with NRL experience and has played semi-finals at every club he's been to on the Northern Rivers.


9. Andrew Battese (Byron Bay)

Ballina hooker Andrew Battese has won the NRRRL Player of the Year award.
Hooker Andrew Battese is playing for Byron Bay this season. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

He announced his retirement at the peak of his powers after winning NRRRL player of the year at Ballina last season.

Byron Bay have snapped him up this year and he should form a lethal partnership with Carney.


10. Jack Durheim (Ballina)

Marist Brothers lock Jack Durheim on the run in NRRRL against Cudgen at the weekend.
Lock Jack Durheim is returning from a year out of the game at Ballina. Vicki Kerry

Hoping for a change of luck this year after thumb surgery and a broken leg restricted him to just one game at Marist Brothers in 2018.

He joins arch rivals Ballina and a change of scenery could be just what he needs to bounce back from a 12-month layoff.