We’ve taken a look at six props to watch in the NRL this season.
Tom Burgess – South Sydney Rabbitohs
The 28-year-old was a constant presence and force all year for the Rabbitohs in 2020 and showed his experience when his side desperately needed it. The young forward pack was spearheaded by Burgess and he again proved how tough a player he is to stop with plenty of metres to his name. As we go into 2021 season, the England international will again be a key cog in the front-row for the Bunnies as they look to turn some heads and thrust themselves back into title contention once more.
Moeaki Fotuaika – Gold Coast Titans
The 21-year-old is fast becoming one of biggest rising stars in the league and comes into the 2021 season after another brilliant year with the Titans. The youngster is exceptional both as ball carrier and defender, leading his side in carries, metres, and tackles in 2020. With star acquisitions such as David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui alongside him in the forward pack, it could be another big year for both himself and Gold Coast.
Junior Paulo – Parramatta Eels
The Parramatta powerhouse is in career best form right now, coming off a maiden New South Wales call up in 2020. The 27-year-old was a huge handful for his opposition with his ability to not just break tackles and pile up the metres but also create second chance plays with his slick offloading ability. Throughout the year he formed arguably the best front-row tandem in the league alongside Reagan Campbell-Gillard and will again be pivotal as Parramatta continue to prove their worth as serious title contenders in 2021.
Payne Haas – Brisbane Broncos
Despite Brisbane’s struggles, Haas continues to set the benchmark for prop forwards and cement his name as an out and out superstar. An average of 166 metres and 35 tackles per game last year are just some of the mammoth numbers he was able to put together and with another New South Wales Origin call up in 2020, the future looks great for the 21-year-old.
James Fisher-Harris – Penrith Panthers
The big New Zealander is the beating heart of Penrith’s forward pack as he proved to be one of his side’s key players in their run to the Minor Premiership. The 25-year-old can play anywhere along the forward line and has proved to be a metre making machine in recent times after making the second most runs (401) and fourth most run metres (3,509) in the entire NRL last year. The Maori All Stars representative also capped off a big year by claiming the Dally M Prop of the Year alongside Josh Papalii.
Josh Papalii – Canberra Raiders
What more can you say about this man? The 28-year-old is one of the best props in the game. It was another big year for the Queensland representative in 2020, using his large frame and his bulldozer-like running quality to make himself a nightmare for his opposition. The ultimate definition of a workhorse, claiming Prop of the Year and the Tackle of the Year at the Dally M Awards and again will be the Raiders’ talisman going forward.
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