Barrie McDermott picks out his 6 standout players from Super League’s early rounds

Drew Darbyshire
Barrie McDermott Sky Sports Super League Alamy

Sky Sports pundit Barrie McDermott (bottom right) has picked out his six standout stars of Super League's early rounds

We’re already a quarter of the way through the 2024 Super League season, and there has already been plenty of outstanding individual displays.

Love Rugby League spoke to Sky Sports pundit Barrie McDermott, who will be the latest guest on My Ultimate Team next week, naming his greatest XIII of players he played alongside during his career.

And we also asked McDermott about which players across Super League have caught his eye in the opening seven rounds, with the former Great Britain and Ireland international turned pundit picking out the following six for praise..

Marc Sneyd

Marc Sneyd Salford Red Devils Alamy
Marc Sneyd in action for Salford Red Devils

Top of the list for me is Marc Sneyd. I’ve been out every week to a live match, I’ve watched Salford a couple of times now and and week in, week out, Sneyd is the determining factor for his team. He is in the best form I’ve ever seen him in, he’s controlling the game and he’s taking defences on. I like to see half-backs take the line on and go to it and be a running threat as well as a thinker, so I think Sneyd is in the form of his career. Who is the most consistent performer from the opening seven rounds? It’d be Marc Sneyd, for me.

STATS: The 10 players with the most assists in Super League 2024, including Marc Sneyd

Mikey Lewis

Mikey Lewis Hull KR Alamy
Hull KR's Mikey Lewis celebrates a win in 2024

The player that I like to watch and brings a smile to my face every time he’s got the ball in his hands is Mikey Lewis. He has been phenomenal. At the start of every year before a ball is kicked – when every club has submitted their squads but nobody has had a genuine run out – I predicted that Hull KR would do really well this year. I like Willie Peters as a coach, I like the way he tries to give his team freedom to play what’s in front of them, he talks about eyes up rugby league all the time. I like Mikey Lewis, he’s a player that I think lifts the crowd and the ground, everybody at Craven Park when he gets the ball is wishing him and willing him to take the line on so I like watching him.

DON’T MISS: Ranking every Super League club by number of academy products fielded in 2024

Daryl Clark

Daryl Clark

I did think in the first three rounds that Daryl Clark had walked into the number nine shirt and was going to be somebody who could transform the way that Saints will play, but he has just stalled a little bit. But we are seven rounds in, we are not even a third of the way through yet, so I’m expecting Daryl Clark come the end of the season when Saints are in the mix – which they will be – to be talked about by most people as being in the top three and being a nominee for Man of Steel because he’ll have a growing influence on his side.

RED V: Whisper it quietly, Daryl Clark has transformed St Helens’ attack post-James Roby

Ben Garcia

James Harrison Warrington Wolves Alamy
Ben Garcia returns for Catalans this week

Catalans have been impressive. The player that I look at who pulls a lot of it together isn’t an attacking player, he’s a defensive player and it’s Benjamin Garcia. Nobody works harder than Garcia, nobody does as much work that goes unnoticed and I think that, whilst other players around him will take a man of the match, will score two or three tries, will have pundits and fans talking about them, I think a lot of it comes down to Ben Garcia’s hard work. Every good team needs a player who is the glue that holds everything together and I think Garcia is that one for Catalans.

LRL RECOMMENDS: Picking the Super League Dream Team (so far) after opening quarter of 2024

Ash Handley

Ash Handley Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Even though the Rhinos have struggled to find any pattern or rhythm at all, Ash Handley has scored some unbelievable tries. You might struggle to see them once in a player’s career or a player might struggle to be involved in them once in their career, but Ash is doing it every other week. He is a player that is quite quiet in terms of his presence in the media, but his presence in the environment at the Rhinos is huge, and his professionalism in the club.. He’s a very giving player is Ash, he’s always there for his team-mates and he does a lot of work that a modern winger does which is hard work coming away from your own line, but you give him half a gap or the slightest opportunity and he’s gone.

STATS: Ranking the top 10 metre makers in Super League so far this season, including Ash Handley

Leon Hayes

Leon Hayes Warrington Wolves Alamy

I’ve been really impressed with Leon Hayes at Warrington. I might be a little biased because he reminds me a little bit of my mate Rob Burrow. It’s a big accolade and stance to have on somebody because Rob had such an influence on the game as a whole, but Leon Hayes has got that fearless nature, he’s got that ability to be in a game surrounded by giants, come out on the other side and do something intelligent. He is no weak link in a defensive line, and the performances he has put in under pressure and under stress have been impressive. Leon Hayes is fearless in his nature and is taking the game by the scruff of the neck. George Williams and Leon Hayes are forming a good partnership and a really good balance, and they complement each other really well.

READ NEXT: Leon Hayes rise charted as Warrington Wolves starlet earns praise from Sam Burgess