Six Tackles: Championship players who are capable of stepping up to Super League

With this year’s Summer Bash just around the corner, we take a look at some of the best Championship players who are yet to feature in Super League. 

Mark Kheirallah

The Toulouse fullback is one of the best known-names in the Championship, but the Aussie-born player is yet to make an appearance in the Super League.

New South Wales born, the 28-year-old made his only appearance in the NRL for the Sydney Roosters in 2011 against the Canberra Raiders, but soon after joined Toulouse Olympique for the 2012 Elite One Championship.

In 2013, the fullback featured in Newcastle’s local league, Australia, before retuning to the French outfit in 2014. He again left in 2016 returning home, before joining the side for their first season in the English League One competition.

The club reached the play-offs in their debut year in the bottom league, defeating Barrow Raiders to win promotion. Kheirallah was nominated for Player of the Year, finishing as the competition’s highest point scorer.

We could yet still see the French international make it to top flight soon enough.

 

 

Misi Taulapapa

In recent times, Misi Taulapapa is only recognised for his ‘mistimed’ tackle on Jamie Shaul during Featherstone’s clash with Hull in the Challenge Cup, but there’s no doubting that he is one talented utility back.

The Featherstone Rovers number four began his professional career in the NRL, making his debut for the New Zealand Warriors in 2006.

He then joined Cronulla Sharks, where he featured more than 30 times between 2007 and 2009 before making the switch to the English Championship, signing for Sheffield Eagles in 2010.

Taulapapa made more than 150 appearances for the Eagles prior to his move to Featherstone, where he is considered a ‘hugely-successful Championship player,’ according to the Rovers’ website.

The Samoan international would be one entertaining player in the Super League.

Peter Mata’utia

Peter Mata’utia is a player that has displayed his impressive skills since joining the Leigh Centurions, and is a talented player we should definitely see in the Super League in the not-so-far future.

The former Newcastle Knights utility back was close to hanging up his boots in his career before being inspired back to the sport by Leigh and chairman Derek Beaumont and is now helping their battle back to the top flight.

The Samoan international, who is the oldest of the Mata’utia brothers, has received Man of the Match on a handful of occasions, including their recent Cup win over Salford Red Devils, where he was faultless in the fullback role.

He has scored seven tries in 16 appearances for the Centurions.

The Summer Bash is the perfect occasion for fans across the leagues to see the talent Mata’utia holds, and if Leigh are successful we still may see him in the Super League.

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Joe Bullock

This prop forward has recently been linked with a move to 2016 champions Wigan Warriors, and if you’re a fan of his there’s no questioning why.

Joe Bullock is a former Wigan Warriors academy player and joined the Leigh Centurions, but failed to break it into the first team.

The big fan-favourite signed a contract extension with Barrow Raiders in 2017 for two-further years and an option for a third, but the forward has been linked with a move to his former club Wigan.

He plays a big part off the field too, helping with the club’s community department and last year took a role coaching the under-16s side. He will return to his hometown of Blackpool, where he started his playing days,  for this weekend’s event which will no doubt see the player get some well-earned attention.

Dave Scott

Dave Scott made his international debut before his first Championship apperance, impressing at Hull KR’S academy side to feature in Scotland’s 26-6 win over Ireland and scoring two tries.

He kept his place in the squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, featuring twice for the Bravehearts, including the quarter final loss to New Zealand.

The Scotland-born player joined Featherstone in 2013 before switching to Doncaster following a loan-spell and played more than 50 games and scoring 20 tries.

The fullback joined Batley Bulldogs ahead of the 2016 season and made 33 appearances and 11 tries in his debut year at the new club.

Scott is an impressive fullback and at the age of just 24, we can definitely expect to see him in the top flight soon.

Andy Ackers 

Toronto Wolfpack hooker Andy Ackers is a top talent and it is quite surprising that he hasn’t played Super League yet.

The 24-year-old played junior rugby at Golborne Parkside and was in the same team as England and Warrington back-rower Ben Currie. He was in the Wigan and Warrington academies as a youngster, before joining Swinton Lions ahead of the 2014 season.

After scoring 23 tries in 50 games for the Lions, he earned a full-time move to London Broncos, where he scored 19 tries in 48 appearances.

Ackers joined Toronto Wolfpack in the off-season and has made a huge impact. The rise of Ackers has been nothing short of incredible and it just goes to show that hard work does pay off. He is definitely capable of playing Super League.

He has still got his best years ahead of him and he seems to get better as he gains more experience. He is ripping it up for the Wolfpack at the minute and he could be playing for them in Super League next season, who knows…