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Freaks, stats leaders & award winners: Walker

There are 10 to 15 players who will play NRL this weekend who are not fit to lace up Michael Purcell's boots, in my opinion.

The leading try-scorer going into the final round of the Intrust Super Cup, Purcell was born with gifts that no amount of training can ever bring you.

People talk about NRL clubs "taking a gamble" on the freakish talent – but to me there is no gamble.

Players like him know to be in the right spot at the right time.

You think it's a fluke, but they do it week-in and week-out, so it can't be.

They anticipate when something big is about to happen or an opportunity will open up, and they sidle up beside in perfect position.

I'd love to see Craig Bellamy get his hands on Purcell and give him a crack at Melbourne.

He's half-a-metre in pace off Josh Addo-Carr, but with better game awareness.

I've been saying for three years that he has NRL written all over him and I think it's nonsense he hasn't been given a go.

You have to remember the 18 tries he scored so far this season came with him missing two months in the middle of the season with a broken arm.

His fitness base is outstanding, his balance is remarkable, and he is a genuine gem of a bloke.

It'd be remiss not to mention Daniel Ogden here, who Purcy overtook last week for tries this season, but who still boasts the all-time record in the Intrust Super Cup.

Oggy has many of the same attributes I've discussed in regard to Purcy.

I won't insult him by saying you couldn't tell he was a footballer by looking at him, because he is still a specimen, but you probably can't measure his impact on first impressions.

He knows where the line is and has an uncanny knack of getting there via whatever means.

He just loves scoring tries.

I'm sad to hear he is retiring and hasn't received his crack at the NRL, but I think we all have to put our hands together and say he's been a wonderful servant for the state competition.

The stats tell me Daniel leads the league in line breaks too, doing so from a team that will finish in the bottom five.

Perusing some of the other statistical categories, I'm pleased to see players from my old club Ipswich Jets  figuring strongly.

Ben Shea has more metres (3,355), more runs (341) and more post-contact metres (1,477m) than anybody else in the Intrust Super Cup.

He's been a massive boost to the Jets this season and has a work ethic that is unbelievable.

I follow him on Instagram and he's up doing 5-6km runs the day after games.

You might expect that of a winger, but for a forward who gets beaten up and has carried a few knee injuries, it shows real drive and mental strength.

In most of the statistical categories, Ben is just a nose in front of Nat Neale, who himself leads the league in offloads (53).

I'd be pretty disappointed if a Jet wasn't shining the way in that regard and I see Seb Pandia is not far behind, nor is former Ipswich player Rod Griffin.

Let's not kid ourselves – Nat Neale is a bloke who should have played plenty more NRL. He's big aggressive, skilful and doesn't cut corners.

I'd have him neck-and-neck with another statistical leader – Scott Drinkwater – as my favourites for the Petero Civoniceva Medal as best player in the comp.

Drinkwater leads the tackle breaks category by a country mile. He has 138 so far to 109 by George Fai of the Souths Logan Magpies.

He has the X factor and I think we can all look forward to seeing his all-round skills for years to come, now that Billy Slater is pulling the pin at the Melbourne Storm.

Coach Bellamy won't give Drinkwater a saloon passage to the NRL, but his strength, balance, speed and awareness are rarely seen together in such combination.

If you're looking for a guy who has shone in two completely different statistical areas, go no further than Pat Politoni.

With a game to play against Easts this weekend, he is both the league leader for try assists (18) and tackles made (802). His average tackles per game is just under 40.

I'd go as far as saying that if he didn't play, Burleigh wouldn't have won half the games they did this year.

He's got some good players ahead of him in the hooking role at the Gold Coast Titans, but he is an outstanding game manager and has the judgment to still be an asset at the top level.

Look around this competition and there are plenty of guys ready to step up or deserving of a second chance.