11 rugby league sons looking to follow in their famous fathers’ footsteps

Ben Olawumi
Ollie Roby, James Roby, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Dacx Jones-Buchanan

St Helens legend James Roby (left) & Leeds Rhinos great Jamie Jones-Buchanan (right) with their children

The world of sport so often throws up a surname that’s instantly recognisable with a forename that isn’t so much as children look to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Rugby league is no different in that sense, with plenty of famous faces from times gone by now in the stands watching their offspring!

Below, we’ve taken a look at 11 sons who are hoping to follow in their fathers’ footsteps in the world of league, with family names aplenty looking in safe hands…

Joe Diskin (Leeds Rhinos)

Like many on this list, Rhinos youngster Joe Diskin is involved in the youth setup at a club where their father enjoyed many a great day. Dad Matt won four Super League Grand Finals during his time at Leeds, making 264 appearances and scoring 44 tries in the process. Joe has this year made the step up from scholarship to academy level at Headingley.

Harry Higham (Wigan Warriors)

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18-year-old Harry, an outside-back, joined Wigan in 2022 having previously played for Salford Red Devils and is currently plying his trade in the Warriors’ reserves, scoring three tries at academy level in 2023. He is the son of ex-Warriors ace Micky, who made over 550 career appearances including stints at Wigan & Warrington Wolves as well as featuring for England & Great Britain.

Dacx Jones-Buchanan (Leeds Rhinos)

Dacx – in Leeds’ scholarship programme – is one of dad Jamie’s four children and is aiming to follow in his footsteps at Headingley. Now a regular face on our screens, 42-year-old Jamie is the club’s fourth-highest appearance maker ever having won seven Super League titles in his playing days. He also took interim charge of Leeds back in 2022 prior to Rohan Smith’s arrival.

Lukas Mason (Wigan Warriors)

Keith Mason
Keith Mason in action for St Helens in 2004

Having previously played for community clubs, econd-rower Lukas, 18, joined Wigan back in 2020 and has now progressed into their academy side. Dad Keith never played for the Warriors, but did make over 200 Super League appearances in his career as well as giving it a crack Down Under in the NRL with Melbourne Storm.

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Tyler Mills (St Helens)

Teenager Mills joined Saints‘ scholarship setup at the start of this year having impressed for Warrington-based community club Crosfields. His ‘famous’ league links come two-fold, with dad David and grandad Jim both having played in the top flight. Amongst many more, both of those played for Widnes and on the international front, Wales.

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Sonny Newlove (Castleford Tigers)

Featherstone Lions junior Sonny officially linked up with Castleford‘s academy side ahead of the start of this season. His dad, Paul, was an England & Great Britain international and starred for Featherstone, Bradford, Saints and Cas, rounding his career off with the Tigers. The fee Bradford paid Fev for his transfer in 1993 remains one of the biggest-ever in the game to this day.

George O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)

When Sean O’Loughlin is your dad, the chances are you’ll end up in a Wigan shirt. 17-year-old son George – an outside-back – is in the Cherry & Whites’ academy side at present having joined the club in 2022, previously playing for community teams in the local area. Sean has just signed a new bumper contract with Wigan, a key cog in the machine as one of Matt Peet’s assistants.

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Iwan Orr (Hunslet)

Orr is not attached to a Super League club. That’s because the full-back left Leeds, whose academy he had been in for a number of years, to join League 1 side Hunslet ahead of 2024. The youngster has made one appearance for the Parksiders so far. Dad Danny, once Cas’ interim boss, has over 370 Super League appearances to his name and was an England & Great Britain international.

    Ollie Roby (St Helens)

    17-year-old Ollie carries the surname of the G.O.A.T and will have to go some way to mirroring anything like what dad James achieved in a Saints shirt, hanging up his boots at the end of last season as Super League’s top all-time appearance holder. Ollie – who had meningitis as a newborn – has recently joined the Red V’s scholarship setup.

    Oliver Stankevitch (St Helens)

    John Stankevitch
    John Stankevitch (right) in action for St Helens in the 2002 Super League Grand Final

    Stankevich Jr features at academy level for Saints having come through the clubs scholarship programme over the last two years. He follows in dad John’s footsteps, with the Whiston-born forward making 131 appearances in the Red V between 2000 and 2004, debuting in the 2000 World Club Challenge. John would go on to coach at club level and internationally with Russia.

    Kai Taylor-Smith (Leeds Rhinos)

    Half-back Kai- son of ex Rhinos ace Lee Smith – is in Leeds’ academy setup having been with the club for a number of years. Dad Lee, an eight-time England international won – and scored in – three consecutive Grand Finals for the Rhinos between 2006 and 2008. Winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy in ’08, he made 156 of his 250 total career appearances for the Headingley outfit.

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