A player to get excited about for each NRL side in 2022

Oliver Gildart heading to NRL

With the new NRL season just around the corner, we have picked out one player from each club to keep a close eye on throughout the year.

One to watch for each NRL side in 2022:

Brisbane Broncos – Tesi Niu

The Broncos have certainly bolstered their squad for the forthcoming season, bringing in two premier players such as Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell. However, it could be one of their bright young stars in Tesi Niu that continues to make a name for himself. The 20-year-old firmly established himself in Kevin Walters side last year. He showcased exactly why he is held in such high regard; with his powerful yet electric ball carrying proving to be a key asset alongside his versatility to play in a couple of positions.

Canberra Raiders – Xavier Savage

The 19-year-old outside back was one of the star youngsters who made his NRL debut last season and despite a shoulder injury ending his season prematurely he was still able to make a name for himself with his devastating speed and footwork proving to be difficult for defenders to contain. Despite just a handful of games of first grade games under his belt, his performances may see him take up a starting role in 2022.

Canterbury Bulldogs – Matt Burton

After impressing behind the likes of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai at reigning champions Penrith, Burton now makes the move to Canterbury where he will finally make a switch from centre to his preferred position in the halves as the Bulldogs look to rebuild. The 21-year-old will also be under the mentorship of former five-eighth Trent Barrett so it will be interesting to see how Burton’s progresses as the season goes on.

Cronulla Sharks – Nicho Hynes

As Ryan Papenhuyzen spent a chunk of the season on the sidelines due to injury, Hynes stepped up the plate for Melbourne switching between full-back and stand-off. The 21-year-old’s performances even saw him retain a spot in Craig Bellamy side even upon Papenhuyzen’s return and in the end, he finished with the most try assists by any Melbourne player. A new year now brings a new side for Hynes who takes his talents to Cronulla where his skillset can certainly help the Sharks take that extra step up.

Gold Coast Titans – David Fifita

The powerhouse second rower continues to show he is one of the forwards in the league. The 21-year-old has proven to be every bit of the signing Gold Coast were hoping for last year, leading the side in tries, line breaks and tackle busts. Now, going into 2022 the sky is still the limit for one of the game’s most ferocious talents.

Manly Sea Eagles – Josh Schuster

The 20-year-old missed out on the starting number six role with Manly in 2021, however, it was obvious that the youngster’s talent was too good to waste as Des Hasler slotted Schuster into the second row. The move worked wonders as he displayed a great combination of power, creativity and elite ball skills that have made him one of most exciting young talents to watch out for.

Melbourne Storm – Xavier Coates

The 20-year-old has proven he has all the potential to be one of the league’s most dominant try scorers for many years with his height, power and all out raw pace a joy to watch during his time at Brisbane. The Queensland representative now takes a massive step up to Melbourne where he will look to fill the shoes left by Josh Addo-Carr.

Newcastle Knights – Bradman Best

A couple of injuries have hampered his progress here and there but whenever he is on the field Best is certainly a game changer for the Knights. The 20-year-old has a great combination of physicality and flair at the centre position and most certainly has the all the ability to be a key figurehead for Newcastle alongside the likes of Kalyn Ponga.

New Zealand Warriors – Rocco Berry

The 20-year-old centre has showed great potential since joining the Warriors and if not for a hamstring injury suffered at the end of last season, the talented New Zealander could have easily further made his mark on the league after scoring three tries in eight appearances.

North Queensland Cowboys – Valentine Holmes

The 26-year-old has had a slow return to life in the NRL since his NFL stint but last season we definitely saw much more of the player that proved to be a world beater at Cronulla. The Cowboys may have had a poor season overall, but the dynamic full-back was by far one of their better performers and with him signed up with North Queensland until 2025 he will be the clear spearhead in attack.

Parramatta Eels – Haze Dunster

The 22-year-old has a bigger role going forward as one of Parramatta’s primary wingers after Blake Ferguson’s departure. Despite the New South Wales Cup being halted last year due to the pandemic, Dunster still made his mark scoring seven tries in eight appearances for Wentworthville Magpies whilst also featuring a handful of times for the Eels in the NRL, recording three tries and three try assists in 11 games.

Penrith Panthers – Charlie Staines

The 21-year-old looks to have established himself as one of Penrith’s new stars, after scoring 14 tries in 21 appearances last season. The departures of Josh Mansour and now Brent Naden have left gaps along the backline but Staines has all the ability to be a continuous standout for the Panthers going into 2022 and beyond.

South Sydney Rabbitohs – Keaon Koloamatangi

The 23-year-old had his best season to date in a South Sydney jersey and further cemented himself as one of the most exciting young back-rowers in the NRL, recording the third most metres by Bunnies player. Now, with the hard-hitting Jaydn Su’A taking his talents to St. George Illawarra, the premise could be on Kolomatangi to take an even bigger lead role in the Rabbitohs’ second row.

St. George Illawarra Dragons – Tyrell Sloan

The young Dragons’ full-back put the NRL notice last year after bursting onto the scene in brilliant fashion as he scored six tries in five games. The departure of Matt Dufty to Canterbury now opens the door for Sloan to have a breakout year.

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Sydney Roosters – Joseph Suaalii

The 18-year-old is one of the most exciting prodigies in Australian rugby league today. A freak athlete who even at a tender age possesses all the skill, flair and physicality to be force in the league for years to come. The retirement of the Morris brothers has opened holes on the Roosters’ backline and we may just see Suaalii battle it out with the likes of Kevin Naiqama, Billy Smith and Paul Momirovski for one of those vacant spots.

Wests Tigers – Oliver Gildart

The NRL’s latest Super League recruit joins a Tigers side in need of some fresh attacking impetus and the talented centre can bring that in bunches. The 25-year-old scored 65 tries in 144 appearances during his time with Wigan and a brief stint at Salford and he also brings plenty of winning mentality after claiming two Super League titles at the Warriors.

READ MORE: Throwback: The inaugural Super League Dream Team

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