7 exciting young players who could make their Super League debut this year

Drew Darbyshire
Nolan Tupaea, George Flanagan, Jacob Douglas Super League youngsters Alamy

From left to right: Nolan Tupaea, George Flanagan, Jacob Douglas

There has already been a plethora of young talent on show in Super League during the early rounds of the season, with clubs bearing fruit of their youth systems.

Hull FC and London Broncos have played the most academy products in the league this season, with both clubs having fielded 14 homegrown talents.

There are three other clubs who are into double figures too in terms of playing academy graduates – St Helens (10), Catalans Dragons (11) and Wigan Warriors (11).

There has already been a number of players to have made their Super League debuts this season, with Leeds Rhinos‘ Ned McCormack, Hull’s Logan Moy and London trio Gideon Boafo, Jack Hughes and Dan Hoyes being the latest prospects to make their mark in the top flight.

Super League is full of exciting, young talent. Here, Love Rugby League takes a look at seven more players who could make their Super League debuts in 2024..

Noah Stephens (St Helens)

The towering front-rower signed his first professional contract with the Saints ahead of this season, penning a two-year deal with a third-year option in the club’s favour.

Stephens came through the club’s academy ranks after joining the Saints’ scholarship programme at the age of 15 from local community club Pilkington Recs.

The 18-year-old has been part Saints’ 21-man squad for a couple of games already season, and although he has yet to make his debut, it makes you think that he isn’t too far away.

And being around the likes Alex Walmsley, Matty Lees and Morgan Knowles in training, there’s probably not a better environment for Stephens to be in at the moment.

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Jacob Douglas (Wigan)

Jacob Douglas Wigan Warriors Alamy

The 19-year-old winger is in his second season with the Warriors first team, and the club have a one-year option to extend his contract beyond 2024.

Douglas has yet to make his Wigan debut or play a game in Super League, but he has already gained experience in the lower divisions on loan with Whitehaven and Oldham.

The Lancashire Academy representative, who hails from Oldham, is highly thought of at Wigan, with his athletic build, speed and aerobic endurance already at a high level. He has already been part of a few of Matt Peet’s 21-man squads in 2024, being the current understudy to experienced duo Liam Marshall and Abbas Miski.

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Fergus McCormack (Leeds)

The 17-year-old half-back signed a full-time contract in November 2022 when he began training with the Rhinos first team squad. He played his first season at academy level in 2023, ending the year being name with the Under-18s Player of the Year award.

This is McCormack’s second season as a full-time player with Leeds and he combines his playing commitments with his academic studies at Woodhouse Grove School in Bradford, currently studying for A-Levels in chemistry, biology, physical education and finance.

Speaking to Love Rugby League in pre-season, Rhinos head of youth John Bastian said: “He’s played both codes but I think rugby league really suits Fergie because he’s so high-energy and enthusiastic about wanting to be around the ball.”

McCormack, whose older brother Ned made his Rhinos debut in Round 7 of Super League, will play for Leeds’ Under-18s and Reserves this season, but could we see him rewarded with his first team debut later in the year?

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George Flanagan (Huddersfield)

George Flanagan Bradford Bulls Alamy

At the time of his signing announcement in December 2022, Huddersfield said in their press release that they ‘beat off competition’ from rival clubs to sign the promising Flanagan, who made his first team debut for Bradford Bulls at just 17 years old, getting to play alongside his father George Flanagan Sr.

Flanagan penned a four-year contract with the Giants, with the Bulls receiving an undisclosed fee for the talented prospect.

Flanagan has yet to make his Super League debut with the Giants as he gained more first team experience with the Bulls last year.

The young full-back or half-back, who is also a good goal-kicker, will wear the No. 32 shirt for Ian Watson’s side this year. Will 2024 be the year he makes his Super League debut?

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Neil Tchamambe (Hull KR)

Neil Tchamambe Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Hull KR have several exciting youngsters pushing hard for a spot in Willie Peters’ first-choice 17, with the likes of Leo Tennison, Louix Gorman, Zack Fishwick and Connor Barley already having made their debuts, so we’ve picked out the uncapped Tchamambe who has yet to play a first team game but has bags of potential.

The towering winger, who stands at 6ft 4in, arrived at the Robins on a two-year deal from Super League rivals Leeds ahead of this season.

Tchamambe has won international honours with England Academy and has been given the No. 34 shirt by head coach Peters.

Upon signing for Hull KR, Tchamambe said: “My main focus is my personal development as a rugby player, and gaining experience in a first team environment, learning from the older and experienced players. Hopefully through that I’m able to grab a first team debut and solidify myself as a first team Super League player.”

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Nolan Tupaea (Warrington)

Nolan Tupaea Warrington Wolves Alamy

The England Academy international is currently enjoying his first taste of life in the Warrington first team, making the step up from the academy to Sam Burgess’ senior squad ahead of this season.

Tupaea was one of the captains in Wire’s academy last season, sharing the role alongside Lucas Green and Ben Hartill.

The strong-running back-rower, who played in Warrington’s Academy Grand Final defeat to St Helens last year, is a product of the Saddleworth Rangers community club.

Tupaea has been given the number 36 shirt at the Wire for 2024. Could we see him make his bow for Burgess’ side later on in the season?

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Jeylan Hodgson (Hull FC)

The 18-year-old hooker has been with Hull FC since the start of 2023 upon returning from Australia, where he played in the local Newcastle competition whilst his older brother Bailey progressed through the NRL system at Newcastle Knights.

Hodgson, who is the nephew of former England star Josh and brother of current Manly Sea Eagles back Bailey, has been given the number 35 jersey in Hull’s first team this year.

Hodgson helped Hull’s Under-18s reach the Academy play-off semi-finals last year before becoming a member of the first team squad in 2024.

With Hull coach Tony Smith having already played 14 homegrown products already this term, could Hodgson be the next player off the homegrown conveyer belt?

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