Group 11 2017: Zac Merritt claims top spot in the Most Influential poll

Wellington Cowboys captain-coach Aidan Ryan.
Wellington Cowboys captain-coach Aidan Ryan.

Wellington Cowboys captain-coach Aidan Ryan has landed among what voters believe to be the best players in Group 11.

The label comes after almost 600 people took part in an online poll to determine Group 11’s most influential players in the competition. 

Forbes Magpies powerhouse Zac Merritt has been labelled by many as the best player in Group 11 and has the statistics to back it up.

Merritt was the overwhelming winner in the public’s vote for the most influential player in the competition.

Of the 563 votes received, Merritt collected 85 of them which equals 15.1 per cent.

Merritt has been a near-unstoppable force at the Magpies and was a huge part of the side’s title win last season while this year he has been at his best again, headlining Forbes’ powerful forward pack and leading from the front.

THE PEOPLE'S CHAMPION: Forbes' Zac Merritt collected the most votes in the Group 11 Most Influential poll. Photo: NICK McGRATH

THE PEOPLE'S CHAMPION: Forbes' Zac Merritt collected the most votes in the Group 11 Most Influential poll. Photo: NICK McGRATH

The Top 20 Most Influential list appeared in the Daily Liberal on June 10 with Nyngan’s Reece Goldsmith edging out Merritt for top spot while Macquarie’s Willie Wright, Parkes Sam Dwyer, Luke Jenkins of CYMS and Wellington captain-coach Aidan Ryan rounded out the top six.

They were the top six in the people’s vote as well, the order the only thing to change.

The poll was a popular one, with votes not only coming from the local region but also overseas.

Ten votes came from the United States while there was two each from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and New Zealand while there was even one from Thailand.

Interestingly, Goldsmith was popular in Europe and collected the two votes from Switzerland and one from the U.K while Wright scored four of the 10 American votes and Macquarie’s Ash Widders got the one form Thailand.

Widders was a big winner in the public vote, moving from 16 on the original list to eighth after the voting.

ORIGINAL LIST: 1 Reece Goldsmith (Nyngan) , 2 Zac Merritt (Forbes), 3 Willie Wright (Macquarie), 4 Sam Dwyer (Parkes), 5 Luke Jenkins (CYMS), 6 Aidan Ryan (Wellington), 7 Dennis Moran (Parkes), 8 Jake Grace (Forbes), 9 Jarryn Powyer (CYMS), 10 Jacob Neill (Nyngan), 11 Alex Bonham (CYMS), 12 Alex Sambrook (Narromine), 13 Jack Medlyn (Parkes), 14 Wade Kavanagh (CYMS), 15 Jone Yacadrau (Nyngan), 16 Ash Widders (Macquarie), 17 Jesse Wighton (Forbes), 18 Norm West (Wellington). 19 Carl Ralph (Westside), 20 Luke Thompson (Narromine)

THE PEOPLE’S TOP 10: 1 Zac Merritt (84 votes), 2 Willie Wright (63), 3 Reece Goldsmith (54), 4 Sam Dwyer (41), 5 Luke Jenkins (39), 6 Aidan Ryan (34), 7 Jake Grace (29), 8 Ash Widders (26), 9 Jarryn Powyer (25), 10 Jesse Wighton (19).