Always a subjective list and one players are not in a rush to be on, the most hated player can trascend a number of areas from dirty play on the field, to having a big mouth, to dissing their team and walking out on a contract mid-season.
10. Willie Mason
Big Willie has had a chequered career at a number of clubs and is the textbook definition of an enigma. When he puts in, he is effective and damaging but when things aren’t going his way, he can be a liability on the field and a cancer off the field. Just ask the Roosters and Bulldogs although Knights fans are loving big Willie at the moment.
9. Justin Hodges
Was a serial grub for years and has improved his image over the past few years but people don’t forget easily the type of player he was at the Roosters and his early days at the Broncos. Ben Creagh is still having nightmares about his run in with Hodges in Origin a few years back and this isn’t about to end anytime soon.
8. Billy Slater
The best fullback in more than a generation but sails close to the wind on many an occasion with regards to his on field conduct. Doesn’t mind sticking the boot in (literally) when a opposing player is trying to score and then pleads his innocence in a performance Robert De Niro would be proud of. Widely regarded as a grub south of the border. Widely regarded as a god north of the border. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Blues fans of course!
7. Kurt Gidley
Seems like a nice bloke but is a bog average footballer and keeps getting selected in rep sides for reasons I fail to understand. For that, he has earnt my contempt and the contempt of Blues fans all over NSW. He must have compromising photos of the coaches to use as leverage…
6. Adam Blair
You have to really have a laugh at the Tigers for recruiting this “footballer”. Was a thug in Melbourne and is a bigger, lazier thug at the Tigers who earns a motza for doing sweet fa or being suspended. It will be interesting to see what happens to Blair once his contract at the Tigers runs out. Is there another club stupid enough to take a punt on this loser?
5. Steve Matai
How could this list not include Steve Matai? He plays the game hard and close to the edge at all times (and often over the edge), which results in one of two things, an injury to Matai, which can be seen after every tackle he makes or Matai making a high shot, which will often see him penalised and or suspended.
4. Darius Boyd
Just like one of his interviews, the less said the better, right Darius? Next question!
3. Josh Dugan
For drinking Baccardi Geezers. Pure and simple. Nuff said!
2. Michael Ennis.
A serial pest at several clubs and a player that knows the definition of niggle. Just ask Nathan Hindmarsh. Ennis got under Hindy’s skin last year to the point where the usually placid Hindmarsh was ready to start swining at Ennis. That alone gets you a high ranking and if we were to ask referees who there most hated was, we’re sure Ennis would be top of their list as well.
1. Jamie Soward
A contentious winner? Hardly. Dragons fans are happy to see the back of him and it remains to be seen what Panthers fans think of him but generally speaking, Soward seems to be the most hated player in the NRL. He comes across as a whiny sook on the field and quite petulant off it. One and the same really. Well done Jamie! You’ve taken out this years inaugural award for NRLHUB’s most hated player.
Honourable mentions: Paul Gallen, Blake Ferguson, Braith Anasta, Cameron Smith, Kris Inu