An unsung hero from each Super League club: Golding, Bell, Atkin..

Drew Darbyshire
Ashton Golding, James Bell, Chris Atkin Super League unsung heroes Alamy

Huddersfield's Ash Golding (left), James Bell of St Helens (centre) and Salford's Chris Atkin (right)

Unsung heroes don’t always get the headlines, but every team has one or two of them, who are immensely valued by their respective clubs.

It tends to be the flashy players whose names we see in the headlines or their faces in front of the cameras, but the ‘unsung heroes’ are often players who are the glue that binds a team together, or a secret weapon that until gameday, you might not even know what position they are going to play for that particular game.

Chris Atkin is the very definition of an unsung hero at Salford Red Devils. He’s pretty much played every position bar prop for Paul Rowley’s side, and he always seems to do a solid job wherever he is asked to play. Last week, he fill the void left at full-back by the injured Ryan Brierley, and thrived in the role as the Red Devils claimed a 17-10 victory against Hull KR.

So in light of Atkin, and the other unsung heroes in Super League, we’ve dedicated this piece to them..

Castleford Tigers – Jack Broadbent

Jack Broadbent Castleford Tigers Alamy

The 23-year-old has proved to be a very shrewd signing for the Tigers since arriving at the Jungle ahead of last season from neighbours Leeds.

Broadbent is primarily a centre, but has also excelled in the full-back and half-back positions when needed for Cas. He’s a bright talent, and you feel the best is still to come from the England Knights international.

Catalans Dragons – Paul Seguier

Paul Seguier Catalans Dragons Alamy

The Albi-born forward has been in and around the Catalans first team for a while now, having made his debut as a fresh faced 18-year-old back in 2016.

Seguier can play pretty much anywhere in the pack, and has really found his peak form over the last 18 months or so. He has been patient to wait for his chance in the notoriously big Dragons pack, but he has taken his opportunity with both hands and is blossoming into an impressive international forward.

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Huddersfield Giants – Ash Golding

Ashton Golding Huddersfield Giants Alamy

The Jamaica international came through as a full-back at Leeds, making his first team debut back in 2013, but since moving to Huddersfield, has become a master of all trades if you like.

Like many players in this feature, Golding has played virtually every position on the pitch apart from the front-row. He has featured as a full-back, winger, hooker and loose forward under Giants boss Ian Watson, and you can probably call him Huddersfield’s Mr Motivator.

Hull FC – Jordan Lane

Jordan Lane Hull FC Alamy
Jordan Lane in action for Hull FC

The Hull faithful certainly rate Lane, and it’s not difficult to see why. He’s been a consistent performer for the Black and Whites for several years now.

Lane is a player who doesn’t grab the headlines too often, but his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. He tackles pretty much everything that comes in his way and although he may go under the radar, he’s no doubt fully appreciated by his team-mates and his coach Tony Smith.

Hull KR – Dean Hadley

Dean Hadley Hull KR Alamy

Much like Lane, Hadley is another unsung hero in the sense that he might not get the man of the match award most weeks – but his work is massively appreciated by his team-mates and his club.

The 31-year-old has been in Super League for more than a decade now, and has become a key member of Hull KR‘s pack in recent years. He just works tirelessly in defence and is a decent ball player to go with it. Just a solid all-rounder.

Leigh Leopards – Matt Davis

Matt Davis Leigh Leopards Alamy

The Leicestershire-born forward is another one who can play pretty much anywhere in the forward pack if needed to..

Davis, who has won the Challenge Cup with both Warrington and Leigh, has played everywhere in the pack for Adrian Lam’s Leopards. He’s primarily a 13, but always does a good job when filling the void at hooker when needed.

Leeds Rhinos – James Donaldson

James Donaldson Leeds Rhinos Alamy

The Cumbrian has worked incredibly hard throughout his career to get to where he is now. Another player who might not see his names in the headlines too often – but he’s been very much a valued member of every squad he has been apart of during his career.

Donaldson, who has made more than 100 appearances for Leeds since arriving in 2019, has become a mainstay in Rohan Smith’s forward pack.

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London Broncos – Oli Leyland

Oli Leyland London Broncos Alamy
Oli Leyland of London Broncos

The Kent-born playmaker is a homegrown product of the Broncos, and is currently enjoying his first taste of Super League.

Leyland progressed through London’s academy ranks as a half-back, but has done a solid job in filling the void at full-back in the absence of the injured Alex Walker in the opening rounds of their return to the top flight.

Salford Red Devils – Chris Atkin

Chris Atkin Salford Red Devils Alamy

Atkin is the very definition of an unsung hero. It’s no secret that Salford haven’t got the biggest squad depth-wise, but Atkin’s utility value means he is able to slot in wherever Paul Rowley needs him to, delivering an 8/10 performance in the process.

Atkin, who represented England Knights in 2018, did a stellar job in the full-back role in Salford’s 17-10 win over Hull KR last weekend in the absence of Brierley. Atkin is primarily a half-back, but he’s comfortable playing hooker and at full-back – and has even played loose forward and on the wing at the Red Devils. A perfect all-rounder.

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St Helens – James Bell

James Bell St Helens Alamy

Bell quickly became a fan favourite at St Helens following his arrival at the Totally Wicked Stadium ahead of the 2022 campaign.

The 29-year-old, who has represented Scotland at the last two World Cups, is a tremendous back-rower, who can also play loose forward. He’s included in our list of unsung heroes across Super League, but you could argue that he isn’t that anymore: he’s a key member of Saints’ pack and is adored by the club’s fanbase.

Wigan Warriors – Willie Isa

Willie Isa Wigan Warriors Alamy

Isa has been a staple of Wigan‘s first team for almost a decade now, with the former Samoa international in his ninth season with the Warriors.

The 35-year-old is a versatile forward, being used primarily as a back-rower by the Warriors in recent years, but can also slot into the loose forward and centre spots if needed. Isa has a ‘team first’ mentality, and is highly thought of at the Super League champions.

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Warrington Wolves – Jordan Crowther

Jordan Crowther Warrington Wolves Alamy

Crowther only arrived at Warrington towards the end of last season but his versatility is already shining through. Prop, hooker, back-row, loose forward – you name it – he can play anywhere in the pack.

The Wakefield academy product is another player who we might not see in the headlines, but he certainly does the tough stuff and the little one per cent-ers (as coaches say!). A hard working player who regularly makes 30+ tackles per game.

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