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Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston.

Repeat sets became increasingly important as the game expanded with the unveiling of seven-tackle sets four years ago and some of the game's elite halves once again showed their skill close to the line in 2018.

Applying pressure has been a cornerstone for Johnathan Thurston over the years and the North Queensland superstar finished his final season in the NRL on top with 25 forced dropouts according to NRL.com Stats – the most of any player, despite the Cowboys missing the finals for the first time since 2010.

With the team missing Michael Morgan for most the season, young gun Jake Clifford stepped up late in the year with five repeat sets in six games to complement Thurston's dominance close to the line.

Departing Parramatta five-eighth Corey Norman, who is set to link with St George Illawarra in 2019, will go into the new year as the leading player in this area after finishing second behind Thurston on 23.

Norman's old teammate Mitchell Moses finished ranked in sixth spot – giving the Eels a total of 40 repeat sets between the two halves in 2018 despite the club ending the season with the wooden spoon.

After his best individual season in the NRL, Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks forced 22 dropouts at an average of just under one per game to rank third.

Brisbane's Anthony Milford (19) and Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds (18) rounded out the top five.
Premiership-winning halfback Cooper Cronk executed 16 repeat sets in 23 games with Blake Green and James Maloney all finishing on the same figure at an average of 0.8 per clash.

Canterbury's Lachlan Lewis also rates a mention with nine forced dropouts in the nine appearances he made in the second half of the Bulldogs' season.