We are enjoying one of the best eras for front-row enforcers in the history of rugby league says  Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach, who rates his top-ten.
We are enjoying one of the best eras for front-row enforcers in the history of rugby league says Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach, who rates his top-ten.

Who is the NRL’s best enforcer?

Sonny Bill Williams might be the main event but there's also a rugby league heavyweight title on the line when the Roosters and Raiders meet in Canberra on Saturday night.

Front-row legend Steve 'Blocker' Roach says enforcers Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Josh Papalii are playing for the title of the world's best front-row forward.

The Fox Sports commentator has rated the top-10 props in the game (see below) with Waerea-Hargreaves narrowly ahead of Papalii at the top of the list.

You get the feeling Roach almost loves the fact no-holds-barred JWH has had 16 match-review charges.

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"They'll be after each other all game," Roach said, "I dead set can't wait."

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart recently declared: "Papa will go down as one of our greatest players ever when he retires." At the Roosters, Trent Robinson feels the exactly same about Waerea-Hargreaves.

It sets the stage for a colossal showdown between two of the most fearless players in the game.

The pair have gone head-to-head on 11 occasions with JWH in front on the scoreboard 7-4.

JWH is 10cm taller but Papalii is 10kg heavier.

On Hargreaves, Roach says: "He makes it personal. That's what I love about him.

"I think back to the first 20 minutes of last year's grand final. He was a one-man wrecking ball for the first 20 minutes.

"It was one of the most dominant front-row performances I've seen in a grand final.

"He deserves to be in a conversation with all the great front-rowers of the modern era just on his toughness and durability.

"He's played 232 games in the toughest position on a footy field. The longevity is there."

On Papalii, Roach says he wouldn't be out of place alongside legends Glenn Lazarus and Shane Webcke.

"He reminds me a lot of Webcke. Real bulky and he inspires the rest of that Canberra side.

"He's up there with (Glen) Lazarus and all of them.

"It's almost impossible to get him onto the ground because of his build.

"He a hulk. Blokes hit him and just bounce off. Every part of him is hard.

"And that chase down the other day showed unbelievable desire. Front-rowers are entitled to say 'that's not my job."

Roach described it as a painstaking task to name the top 10 props in the game.

The all-time great Balmain, NSW and Kangaroos front-rower says it is one of the strongest eras in the game's history for front-rowers.

"It's hard to remember when we've had a better bunch of front-rowers," he said

"It's really hard naming just 10. I've left out some really good ones like Tom Burgess and Reagan Campbell-Gillard."

The surprise omissions were Panthers prop James Tamou and Parramatta's Reagan Campbell-Gillard who have both been in outstanding form for their clubs this year.

He also left out big money players Andrew Fifita, Jordan McLean, Paul Vaughan, Marty Taupau, Russell Packer, Christian Welch and the Bulldogs' English import Luke Thompson.

Originally published as Who is the NRL's best enforcer?



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