Who has been the most influential figure in Group 11 so far in 2019?

IMPACT: Some of the competition's best have been (clockwise from right) Chad Porter, Jahrryd Usher, Jyie Chapman, and Justin Carney.
IMPACT: Some of the competition's best have been (clockwise from right) Chad Porter, Jahrryd Usher, Jyie Chapman, and Justin Carney.

The Group 11 season has reached its midway point, with this weekend completing the seventh round of the competition.

A huge amount of off-season change at every club has seen rebuilding undertaken early this year, but there's still been plenty to like about the competition.

A stack of people are still coming to terms with their new-look first grade sides, but that hasn't stopped them from starring in the opening rounds of the season.

But who has had the biggest impact so far?

We've had a look, and as we do every year named our Top 20 Most Influential Figures of 2019 so far, starting with one of the competition's biggest recruits.

1. Justin Carney (Nyngan)

A simple choice but undoubtedly the right choice.

Few signings in the Western Rams region have created as much fanfare as the Tigers' deal which saw Carney return home after more than a decade in the NRL and English Super League, and his impact has already been immense.

Someone often regarded as something of a myth and recluse during his time playing professionally, Group 11 has been better for Carney's return and the homecoming has been great for Carney as well.

While his Tigers have faltered in recent weeks it's largely because the captain-coach has been missing from the field due to injury. Despite that, Carney is creating a professional and mature atmosphere that still doesn't completely kill off the 'wild west' attitude and style the Tigers play with to such great effect.

When on the field, Carney has been as hard to bring down as expected. Injuries have seen him fill a number of positions but if he can find a way to play himself as a wide-running back-rower then he'll be even more destructive.

2. Brandon Tago (Parkes)

Group 11 just wasn't quite the same without Tago and Parkes Spacemen teammate Sam Dwyer.

The pair spent a year in Group 10 with Bathurst St Pat's and while Dwyer has been a little quiet since returning home, Tago has been nothing but immense.

The Spacemen shot to the top of the ladder early in the year and while they've slipped lately it's worth noting Tago has missed most of the losses and disappointing performances through injury.

When on the field, Tago has looked far more fit than we've been used to in recent years and the size and strength he provides has been vital for Parkes, especially in defence.

One of the best players in the competition to watch when he's at his best, Tago looks certain to drive Parkes well into the finals in 2019.

3. Will Lousick (Wellington)

Will Lousick only returned to the Cowboys before round three of the season, but he quickly set about making up for lost time.

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting players in the region, Lousick returned home after giving it a crack at Redcliffe in Queensland.

He scored a hat-trick in his first game back, leading the Cowboys past the previously unbeaten Nyngan Tigers, and he's continued to star for his side since then.

His support play is unmatched while he's also got a handy kicking game and plenty of play-making ability.

In a team loaded with stars, there's something really pleasing about seeing a young homegrown talent leading the Cowboys to what really could be a drought-breaking premiership in 2019.

4. Alex Ronayne (Dubbo CYMS)

One of Dubbo CYMS' best for a number of years, we're really seeing the true value of Ronayne this season.

He'd admit he wasn't at his absolute best in the opening rounds and while CYMS was winning they were scrappy performances.

As the back-rower has started playing better so have the Fishies.

There's not many in Group 11 or the bush tougher than Ronayne and he's left his mark on a number of opposition players already this season. No-one can afford to dally on the ball for a second too long when the hard-hitting Ronayne is around.

GET AROUND HIM: Alex Ronayne is congratulated after pulling off one of his trademark crunching hits this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

GET AROUND HIM: Alex Ronayne is congratulated after pulling off one of his trademark crunching hits this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

He's also provided valuable support for rookie CYMS captain-coach Jarryn Powyer and it was interesting to note the side's discipline fell apart without him in last weekend's Challenge Cup final loss.

5. Dave Dryden (Wellington)

Travis Waddell, Steve Gordon, Josh Griffiths, and Dennis Moran may all be more high-profile recruits this year, but Dryden has been the best of the newcomers at Wellington so far this year.

A veteran front-rower as hard as they come, Dryden doesn't stop working and doesn't stop yelling orders and directions at his teammates.

Tough props who make consistent metres are worth their weight in gold in bush footy and in Dryden the Cowboys have got one of the best around.

6. Chad Porter (Parkes)

The last few years there's been a bit of a feeling if Porter plays well then Parkes play well.

It's a good thing for the side this season they aren't as overly reliant on him, but he's still the standout halfback in the competition.

Calm and in control at all times, Porter possesses everything you'd want in a number seven. Crisp passes, a fine kicking game, a strong running game, and underrated toughness.

It's a strong mix and, as has been the case almost every year since his return to the competition, Porter continues to be one of the best players in Group 11.

7. Dylan Hill (Narromine)‚Äč

He might have left Macquarie in disappointing and murky circumstances but the move to Narromine has been a breath of fresh air for the rookie coach and also the Jets.

Hill has created belief within the previously battling Jets club while he's given the side a real presence up front after returning to the field from a long-term knee injury.

Not the most outspoken or domineering leader in the competition, Hill's style is working perfectly with a young Jets outfit and it's already led to some of the side's best results in years.

8. Ben Maguire (Forbes)

Where would the Magpies be without Ben Maguire? Or is it Maquire?

A former wide-running second-rower who scored tries for fun, Maguire has moved into the middle in recent times yet continues to be an inspirational figure for the defending premiers. You don't win the Bob Weir Medal after winning a grand final for nothing.

ALL SMILES: Not many in Group 11 look happier running on to the field each week than Ben Maguire. Photo: NICK McGRATH

ALL SMILES: Not many in Group 11 look happier running on to the field each week than Ben Maguire. Photo: NICK McGRATH

The Magpies might not find themselves where they want to be currently, but Maguire continues to give his all up front and lead the way for the men in back and white.

In a year where injuries have really whacked Forbes, the man seemingly held together by strapping tape has been the most consistent figure.

9. Jarryn Powyer (CYMS)

It didn't take long for us all to realise the departure of Tim Ryan wasn't going to cause any kind of collapse at Dubbo CYMS.

Another young captain-coach, Powyer has been patient yet also decisive early on in his time in the top job.

He changed his lineups plenty early in the year to give everyone a chance, but was always there up front leading by example.

One of the best props in the western area, Powyer hasn't let responsibility affect his performances.

A close mate of so many of his teammates, Powyer has strengthened the close-knit culture within the club while also continuing CYMS' proud record of winning.

10. Jahrryd Usher (Narromine)

Dylan Hill's arrival has sparked improvement among a lot of players at Narromine, but Usher is the one who has benefited most.

Always a regular at the Jets in recent years, Usher has been a vital figure for Hill and someone he has relied on heavily during the first half of the season.

Referred to as "our Mitch Aubusson", Usher has shown he's as versatile as the Roosters' reliable NRL star by filling numerous positions with aplomb so far.

The forwards have grabbed some of the headlines at Narromine so far this season but Usher thrives on the work they do. Might not have the star power of some of the other players on this list but there's no doubting his value to the Jets.

11. Alex Bonham (CYMS)

CYMS may have won its opening few games without him, but there's no doubt the Fishies have been a better side since Alex Bonham returned to the fold.

After a slow start to the season, Bonham worked his way back into top side and started showing immediately why he's been one of the best playmakers in the region.

He's already forged a handy combination with halfback Harry Kempston and will be absolutely vital for CYMS if they are to regain the premiership they missed out on last year.

12. Dennis Moran (Wellington)

Age might not stop for no man, but it's definitely slowed down a little for Dennis Moran.

The veteran continues to show his worth in bush footy, even if he isn't quite as fast or as explosive as he once was.

SETTING THE TONE: Dennis Moran has been in the thick of the action for Wellington this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

SETTING THE TONE: Dennis Moran has been in the thick of the action for Wellington this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

Now part of a Cowboys side desperate for a premiership win, Moran's experience and knowledge of the game is proving invaluable while his constant talk on the field has also been hugely important. The same goes for former NRL player Travis Waddell, but sometimes you just can't better a bit of local knowledge.

Spending most of his time at hooker now, rather than the halves, Moran keeps the in-form Cowboys rolling forward.

13. Paul Hausia (Westside)

With some of the players on this list it is so obviously clear what they bring to a game when you see them play.

If you go to a Dubbo Westside game, you might not realise just how vital Hausia is for that club.

The coach may sit quietly by himself on game day but make no mistake, Paul Hausia is keeping the battling Westside playing group together.

Wayne and Brooke Mallison deserve a huge amount of credit for the work they're doing behind the scenes to keep Westside going, but Hausia's influence keeps the players coming back each week despite constant lopsided results. Not many teams would be as united and positive after being hammered each week, but that's the case at Westside.

14. Jyie Chapman (CYMS)

You could make this list every season for almost the last decade and Chapman wouldn't be out of place on it every time.

CYMS so often embodies the real team ethos, with no individual standing that far above the others. But Chapman leads from the front and plays above his weight week in, week out.

As well as being the best centre in the competition, Chapman is another of the key experienced figures at Dubbo CYMS and gives the side some real aggression.

15. Jordan Pope (Parkes)

A consistent performer for the Spacemen for a number of years and someone who has represented Group 11 on a number of occasions, Pope has taken a real step up this year.

He hits hard in defence while he's got the kind of combination with halfback Chad Porter that could rival the likes of great NRL duos Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman or Johnathan Thurston and Gavin Cooper.

The kind of player every side needs, Pope isn't just someone who won't let you down. He'll get you're side on the front foot and create opportunities as well.

16. Wes Middleton (Macquarie)

He's made a few odd decisions this season in regards to lineups and bench usage, but there's no doubt Middleton is a talented mentor and leader.

The Raiders captain-coach has spent much of the season out injured but he's returned in recent weeks and his influence has been clear to see as a win over Parkes was followed by a draw at Nyngan.

CHIPPING IN: He's spent a lot of the time off the field this year but Wes Middleton is still making his presence felt in his first season back at Macquarie. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

CHIPPING IN: He's spent a lot of the time off the field this year but Wes Middleton is still making his presence felt in his first season back at Macquarie. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

He's still really searching for the best lineup and combinations at the new-look Raiders and while everyone at the club will be hoping it comes together in a big way sooner rather than later, Middleton has been hugely important to performances on the field and changing culture off it.

17. Alex Sambrook (Narromine)

Another of the competition's most reliable performers.

Sambrook never lets the Jets down and the prop continues to be one of the most important figures for his team.

He's formed an enviable front-row combination with his captain-coach and loves playing the big minutes. Never stops going forward while also gets through a mountain of defence, he's just the kind of player every side would love to have.

18. Colt Ure (Macquarie)

This season has been one of inconsistency and changes for Macquarie but the one constant has been the Raiders' bald-headed prop.

He provides real size and strength up front and is more often than not the player in the forward pack other teams target and aim to stop.

Tairua also possesses a handy off-load and if his side is to continue rising and work its way into the top five there's no doubt a large part of it will be because of the front-rower.

19. Bailey Hartwig (Forbes)

The youngster could be a lot higher on this list come the end of the season.

The name Hartwig is synonymous with the Magpies so it's fitting one has been among the club's best so far this season.

A livewire at fullback who also does the goal-kicking, Hartwig will be even more important for his side in the coming weeks after five-eighth Mitch Burke went down injured last weekend.

Someone who has the ability to break a game open, the Western Rams representative will be looking to get involved as much as he can for the rest of the year.

20. Daryl Cubby (Nyngan)

At the start of the season a lot of talk about Nyngan surrounded Justin Carney as well as Merritt brothers Josh and Jai.

PLAYMAKER: Daryl Cubby has offered Nyngan a bit of everything so far this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

PLAYMAKER: Daryl Cubby has offered Nyngan a bit of everything so far this season. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

It seemed obvious they would be the keys to the Tigers' success and while that still remains, Cubby has joined them as another who is vitally important.

A player who's been shifted from the halves to fullback because of injuries, Cubby has a knack of popping up at the right time and his goal kicking has also been useful.