Panthers nominated for Players' Champion

The NRL's new generation of showstoppers lead a star-studded 64-man short list for the RLPA's prestigious Players' Champion award.

Under revamped voting rules, every contracted player in the game can have their say on the highest peer-voted honour in rugby league, and it's some of the game's youngest and most entertaining stars tipped to battle it out for the honour in 2018.

Newcastle wunderkind Kalyn Ponga, Rabbitohs rake Damien Cook and Roosters powerhouse Latrell Mitchell are all revelling in breakout campaigns, while Melbourne maestro Cameron Munster is also expected to feature heavily when the final votes for the Players' Champion are tallied.

Four players from each club have been nominated for opponents to vote via a 3-2-1 basis, with the RLPA's Top 13 Dream Team, rookie, women's and representative players of the year also to be announced at September 11 event.

The top five nominees for the award will be announced on NRL.com next Thursday.

With around 5000 games of NRL experience retiring at the end of 2018, several old hands are bowing out on top with veterans Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and James Maloney nominated for the top gong.

Overwhelmingly though the shortlist is dripping with young talent – with the likes of James Roberts, Valentine Holmes, the Trbojevic brothers, Viliame Kikau and Luke Brooks all earning a start, as well as 2017 champion James Tedesco.

Here are the nominees

Brisbane: Jamayne Isaako, Corey Oates, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts

Canberra: 

Josh Papalii, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine, Elliot Whitehead

Canterbury: 

Will Hopoate, Josh Jackson, David Klemmer, Josh Morris 

Cronulla:

Valentine Holmes, Matt Moylan, Matt Prior, Andrew Fifita 

Gold Coast: 

Jai Arrow, Michael Gordon, Ryan James, Anthony Don 

Manly: 

Joel Thompson, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans 

Melbourne: 

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Cameron Munster, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater 

Newcastle: 

Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Aidan Guerra, Kalyn Ponga, Sione Mata'utia 

New Zealand Warriors: 

Issac Luke, Ken Maumalo, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Blake Green

North Queensland: 

Kyle Feldt, Jason Taumalolo, Johnathan Thurston, Gavin Cooper 

Parramatta: 

Daniel Alvaro, George Jennings, Tepai Moeroa, Mitchell Moses 

Penrith: 

James Fisher-Harris, Viliame Kikau, Isaah Yeo, James Maloney 

South Sydney: 

Damien Cook, Angus Crichton, Cody Walker, Sam Burgess 

St George Illawarra: 

Cameron McInnes, Tariq Sims, Gareth Widdop, Paul Vaughan 

Sydney Roosters: 

Blake Ferguson, Luke Keary, James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell 

Wests Tigers: 

Luke Brooks, Esan Marsters, Corey Thompson, Ben Matulino