I swear having a favourite player is half the reason we watch rugby league.
More often than not, admiration that can spill into infatuation stems from the fact they are the best player for your favourite team; but at times there is no rhyme nor reason for why a particular player has caught your eye.
Growing up a long way north of Sydney (but very much South Sydney), a large chunk of my childhood was spent trying to emulate Rabbitohs halfback Craig Coleman.
I made Souths shirts with Smith's Crisps on the front and No.7 on the back in screen printing at school and was once admonished by my mother for doing the bushman's hanky on the front lawn despite my protests that “Craig Coleman does it!”
There were other favourites. Peter Sterling was my favourite non-Souths player, flashy English winger Henderson Gill holds a far too strong a place in my memory for someone who only played eight games for Souths 32 years ago and while playing Under 15s for the Coffs Comets, I'd copy Mark Carroll's game-day diet of nothing but spuds.
Which – in a round-about kind of way – brings us to the 2017 XXXX People's Choice Award.
It's an award that has been dominated by Hunters players since its inception in 2013, but the crafty folk at the Intrust Super Cup clubs have thrown a spanner in the works for this year with former Hunters Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe) and Justin Olam (Falcons) representing their clubs, which brings an extra level of intrigue as to which way the fans' votes will go.
It's a field full of fan favourites, so to try and make some sense of who might be this year's popular pick – I canvassed the opinions of a number of people who help cover the Intrust Super Cup and who remain first and foremost fans at heart.
I asked them for their favourite Cup player of 2017 and also their favourite of all time and as you'd expect, the answers covered a wide variety of players:
Rikki-Lee Arnold (Courier-Mail): Michael Purcell (Ipswich) AND Billy Walters and Brodie Croft (Easts – I have to mention them as a combo). For all-time, it's easily Darren Lockyer.
Peter Badel (Courier-Mail and Channel Nine): Fave this year is Michael Purcell, fave Cup player of all time is Troy Lindsay (Redcliffe). I'm an Eels man through and through, so toss of the coin between Peter Sterling and Eric Grothe.
Zane Bojack (ABC Radio): Anthony Mitchell (Townsville) this year, Mal Meninga all-time. And can I just say before he got injured, I considered Ben Spina more of a Cowboy than a Pride player due to how good he has been this year. He is always my favourite.
John Devine (Bay FM, Seagulls TV): The big fella Georgie Fai (Magpies). Every carry is explosive. Outstanding for Residents. All-time … Steve Renouf. Like Shane Warne, whenever he had the ball in hand there was an expectation of something happening.
Matt Holdsworth (Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton): Krys Freeman from the Capras and all-time is a tie between Darren Lockyer and Shaun Berrigan.
Connor O'Brien (Gold Coast Bulletin): This year – Pat Politoni (Burleigh). Hasn't played much, but has made a huge difference when he has. All-time I have two: Shannon Walker (Tweed Heads) for Cup and Simon Mannering for NRL.
Rhys O'Neill (Gold Coast Bulletin, formerly Cairns Post): Have to go Michael Purcell. All-time, Sam Obst – most competitive bugger ever. Honourable mention to Ben Spina.
Peter Psaltis (Channel Nine): Current Cup favourites are Billy Walters and Luke Page (Burleigh). All-time BRL/Cup are Floyd Hill (Magpies) and Aaron Barba (Redcliffe). All-time favourite NRL is Mal Meninga … with an honourable mention to Scott Sattler.
Scott Sattler (Channel Nine): Ben Spina and Billy Walters this year. Cup all-time would be Shannon Walker.
Which I guess leaves just me. I've loved what little I have seen of Maipele Morseau at the Capras this year, I think Jake Foster (Easts) is an outstanding player deserving of higher honours but – like many – I'm drawn to the boys from the Hunters, particularly their crafty No.9 Wartovo Puara who won this award two years ago. He'd be a sensation in the NRL.
And now it's time to have your say. Voting is open until next Sunday, August 27, so jump on, pick your favourite and you will go into the draw to win a XXXX prize pack valued at more than $500.
A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.