Ranking every Super League club by number of academy products fielded in 2024

Drew Darbyshire
Super League academy products

One of rugby league’s strong points is the academies within the game, and the conveyer belt of talent that comes through in Super League every year.

Every club across Super League has homegrown talent within their respective squads – some more, some less, in terms of the numbers of academy products.

Love Rugby League has taken a look at every club in Super League, and the homegrown players within their ranks in 2024. Here, we’ve ranked each club by number of academy players fielded this season, which will be updated every week throughout the campaign..

12. Leigh Leopards (1)

Frankie Halton Ireland Alamy
Frankie Halton in action for Ireland

Frankie Halton

The Ireland international played for Leigh‘s reserves at the start of his professional career before the team was discontinued at the time. Halton then went on to play for local community club Leigh Miners Rangers before getting his shot in the pro ranks with Swinton Lions. Since then, he has gone on to play for Hull KR in Super League before returning to boyhood club Leigh last year.

Leigh have kick-started their reserves team again and also have an academy team, so it’s likely that we’ll see more Leythers representing their hometown club in the next four or five years.

11. Hull KR (2)

Mikey Lewis Hull KR Alamy
Hull KR star Mikey Lewis applauds the fans

Mikey Lewis, Sam Luckley

Two academy products have played for Willie Peters’ side in the early rounds of the season in the shape of England international Mikey Lewis and Scotland international Sam Luckley, with the latter having featured for KR’s academy before starting his professional career at Newcastle Thunder. Rest assured, the Robins have a plethora of promising youngsters in and around the first team squad who will no doubt make their mark later in the season.

= Salford Red Devils (2)

Marc Sneyd Salford Red Devils Alamy
Marc Sneyd lines up a conversion for Salford

Chris Hankinson, Marc Sneyd

Two academy products have featured for Paul Rowley’s side so far in the shape of Hankinson and Sneyd. Red Devils captain Kallum Watkins also spent time in the Salford academy as a junior before moving to Leeds, where he made his first team debut.

9. Huddersfield Giants (6)

Olly Russell Huddersfield Giants Alamy
Olly Russell lines up a conversion for Huddersfield

Jake Connor, Olly Russell, Sam Hewitt, Leroy Cudjoe, Matty English, Olly Wilson

The Giants have brought through several academy products in recent years, and have already played six of them in 2024. Young prop Olly Wilson came through the Bradford setup before making the switch to Huddersfield, where he played for the Giants academy prior to making his Super League debut.

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8. Castleford Tigers (7)

Jason Qareqare Castleford Tigers Alamy
Castleford youngster Jason Qareqare in action

Jason Qareqare, Joe Westerman, Liam Watts, Sam Hall, Luis Johnson, Brad Martin, Cain Robb

Craig Lingard’s side have featured seven academy products so far this season. Westerman and Watts are stalwarts of the Tigers, racking up almost 300 Cas appearances between them.

7. Leeds Rhinos (8)

Ash Handley Leeds Rhinos Alamy
Leeds winger Ash Handley

Harry Newman, Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Cam Smith, Jarrod O’Connor, Alfie Edgell, Tom Holroyd, Ned McCormack

Leeds are renowned for giving youth a chance, with Rohan Smith’s side having already played eight homegrown players this season, including Handley, who is one of the in-form players in Super League.

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6. Warrington Wolves (9)

Josh Thewlis Warrington Wolves Alamy
Josh Thewlis in action for Warrington

Arron Lindop, Toby King, Connor Wrench, Ben Currie, Joe Philbin, Josh Thewlis, Leon Hayes, Adam Holroyd, Tom Whitehead

The Sam Burgess era at Warrington is underway, and the Wire boss has played nine academy products in the opening five rounds of the Super League campaign, one of them being 18-year-old Arron Lindop, who made his debut against Catalans in the opening round.

5. St Helens (10)

Jack Welsby St Helens Alamy
Jack Welsby scoring a try for St Helens

Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Matty Lees, Jake Wingfield, George Delaney, Jon Bennison, Morgan Knowles

It’s no surprise to see the Saints up there as one of the teams who have played the most academy graduates so far given their track record of having an outstanding academy. The Red V conveyer belt continues.

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4. Catalans Dragons (11)

Arthur Mourgue Catalans Dragons Alamy
Arthur Mourgue takes a conversion for Catalans

Arthur Mourgue, Arthur Romano, Paul Seguier, Jordan Dezaria, Fouad Yaha, Alrix Da Costa, Ben Garcia, Matthieu Laguerre, Cesar Rouge, Franck Maria, Ugo Tison

The Dragons have brought through a plethora of talent during the club’s short history, but more so in recent years. Steve McNamara has already played 11 academy graduates in 2024, with only seven rounds played thus far.

= Wigan Warriors (11)

Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy
Wigan winger Liam Marshall

Liam Marshall, Harry Smith, Brad O’Neill, Liam Byrne, Liam Farrell, Harvie Hill, Tom Forber, Zach Eckersley, Ryan Hampshire, Jack Farrimond, Junior Nsemba

Much like Leeds and St Helens, Wigan are another club who are renowned for having a conveyer belt of youngsters waiting in the wings for their chance in the first team. Matt Peet, formerly head of youth at his hometown club, has played 11 academy graduates so far in 2024.

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1. London Broncos (14)

Oli Leyland London Broncos Alamy
London Broncos academy product Oli Leyland

Oli Leyland, Iliess Macani, James Meadows, Rob Butler, Sam Davis, Will Lovell, Sadiq Adebiyi, Jordan Williams, Matt Davies, Jacob Jones, Alex Walker, Gideon Boafo, Jack Hughes, Dan Hoyes

Given their geographical location, or in other words, being so far away from the ‘heartlands’, the Broncos kind of need to bring through their own and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Mike Eccles’ side have featured 14 homegrown players so far on their return to Super League.

= Hull FC (14)

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

Lewis Martin, Davy Litten, Cam Scott, Danny Houghton, Jordan Lane, Jack Brown, Harvey Barron, Nick Staveley, Will Gardiner, Charlie Severs, Denive Balmforth, Jack Charles, Matty Laidlaw, Logan Moy

Tony Smith’s side are at the top of the list alongside London, having already played 14 academy products so far in the first seven rounds. It’s probably fair to say they’ve played so many given the injuries and suspensions they’ve had, but let’s take nothing away from the Black and Whites, who have some promising youngsters coming through, that’s for sure.

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