Lion-hearted North Queensland Toyota Cowboys veteran and co-captain Matt Scott had another strong year in club, Maroons and Australian colours as the cornerstone forward in all three teams.
Like his fellow skipper Johnathan Thurston, Scott backed up a highly successful 2015 campaign with a strong 2016 as the forward leader showed the way both on and off the field.
Scott was the spearhead of a powerful Cowboys pack in 2016, with both he and fellow prop James Tamou starting matches, laying a solid platform in the first half.
This allowed effective interchange big men Scott Bolton and Ben Hannant to continue the battle for midfield territory, allowing edge forwards, playmakers and outside backs to attack off the back of that good foundation work.
Playing in his 13th NRL season, Scott, 31, played 23 games for the Cowboys, three State of Origins for Queensland and the May Test for the Kangaroos against New Zealand.
In the Cowboys jersey, he averaged 126 running metres a game, made 22 tackles on average and produced a team-high 27 offloads – a highly effective output given the average 46 minutes of game time played.
In the Cowboys’ epic Round 11 golden-point extra-time win over the Broncos, Scott scored his 15th career try, and posted his 16th just over a month later when the Cowboys shut the Rabbitohs out 20-0 in Cairns.
Having had major spinal surgery in the 2015/16 off-season, Scott enjoyed an injury-free run at the start of the season as well as all through the State of Origin period.
He missed two games late in the season, with an ongoing back issue ruling him out of the Round 24 game against the Warriors and a broken finger forcing him to miss the final regular season contest against the Titans.
He played through the finals series with his finger not fully healed, underlying the physical and mental toughness synonymous with the Central Queensland product.
His courage and leadership credentials have never been questioned, and Scott was shortlisted for the Captain of the Year award at the 2016 Dally Ms.
Scott is currently lining up for the Kangaroos in the 2016 Four Nations tournament in England, returning for the club’s pre-season early in 2017.
Hit ups: 222
Average run metres: 126
Average tackles: 22