A player to watch from: Broncos, Raiders, Bulldogs, Sharks, Titans, Sea Eagles, Storm & Knights

Zach Holland

We have picked out a player to watch from each NRL side in 2020 – and this is part one of a two-part series.

Brisbane Broncos: Kotoni Staggs

Before the league’s suspension, there was one Brisbane player who was looking set for a phenomenal year at the club and that was Staggs. The 21-year-old started off 2020 like a house on fire with four tries in two games, further cementing himself as potential superstar in the making. Plenty of the premise will be on Staggs to continue his recent hot streak this year with his speed, power and try scoring prowess all huge advantages in the centre position.

Canberra Raiders: George Williams

After impressing in his first couple of starts with the Raiders, Super League recruit Williams will no doubt have plenty of eyes on him as he looks to continue to adjust and adapt to life in the NRL. The 25-year-old’s connection with halves partner Jack Wighton will be massively crucial to Canberra’s attempt to make another run to the NRL Finals.

Canterbury Bulldogs: Lachlan Lewis

After the long-term injury to Keiran Foran, the door was left open for youngster Lewis to try and fill the void left by the veteran at the start of the year. The 23-year-old is set for a big year so it will be interesting to see how he continues to cope on the big stages.

Cronulla Sharks: Briton Nikora

After making his NRL debut last year to then earning his first test call up to the New Zealand national side, it has been a rise meteoric of epic proportions for Nikora. The 22-year-old burst onto the scene with Cronulla at the start of 2019 and quickly established himself as powerful runner alongside forming a great combination with Shaun Johnson on the right hand side. The sky looks to be the limit for Nikora and with the Sharks containing some exciting talent, then himself and the club could be set for a big 2020.

Gold Coast Titans: Moeaki Fotuaika

There are some players worth keeping an eye on for the Titans. The 20-year-old Fotuaika was a monster in the running game last year after averaging 133 metres per game as well as being named the Titans’ Player of the Year. As new coach Justin Holbrook continues to find his footing with his new squad, Fotuaika could be a huge driving force in Gold Coast’s forward pack alongside the more established players such as Jai Arrow and Jarrod Wallace.

Manly Sea Eagles: Dylan Walker

At full strength, the Sea Eagles have one of the most exciting attacking line-ups in the competition with Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Reuben Garrick all huge weapons for Des Hasler’s men.

But after returning to Manly’s squad midway through last year, Walker was extremely impressive once again and was pinnacle to the club’s run to the NRL finals in the end. The 25-year-old’s switch to stand-off was a huge move that proved dividends and it will be interesting to watch Walker in 2020 as he continues to form great chemistry alongside Cherry-Evans.

Melbourne Storm: Brandon Smith

In a squad that boasts plenty of elite talent, there is certainly plenty of players that can be more than worth keeping a watchful eye on but Smith is maybe one who is more than so. The Kiwi international was the star of the show during the NRL All Stars game this year and again could prove to be a vital utility player for Craig Bellamy’s men with his tenacity and toughness.

Newcastle Knights: Bradman Best

Even though Best does not have many first-grade games under his belt, that could all be set to change this year as he is set to be a more permanent fixture in Adam O’Brien’s squad. The centre’s frame and all-round skill make him one of the most noteworthy rookies worth keeping an eye on this year.

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