Super League players who would go well in the NRL

Josh McAllister

We’ve picked out six Super League players who would impress in the NRL.

For the purposes of this feature, we have picked players who have never featured in the NRL before.

Oliver Gildart

The Wigan, England and Great Britain centre has made no secret about his desire to one day play in the NRL, with several clubs previously showing interest in the 24-year-old.

A product of Wigan’s junior system, he made his Super League debut on loan for Salford in 2015, before making his Wigan debut in the Super 8s fixture against Warrington later that year.

Gildart, who has an NRL-clause in his deal that would allow him to leave before his contract expires next year, has lifted two Super League Grand Final trophies with the Warriors, and was part of the team that defeat Cronulla Sharks in the World Club Challenge in 2017.

Daryl Clark

At the age of 27, the Warrington number nine could still make the switch to the NRL, and has been previously tipped by one of rugby league’s greatest players of all times.

Andrew Johns, the eighth Immortal of rugby league, backed a move for Clark to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Earlier this year, Johns told Channel 9 Wide World of Sports: “I had a quick look at their squad – they need to buy a world-class dummy-half. There’s one in England called Daryl Clark, who plays for Warrington, really top-line player.”

He won the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award in 2014, and became only the third hooker to win the Lance Todd Trophy in Warrington’s 2019 Challenge Cup victory over St Helens.

Morgan Smithies

The 19-year-old has certainly made an impact in the Super League with Wigan, having made his debut in 2019 against Catalans at the DW Stadium.

The talented loose forward broke the record for the number of tackles made by a player in the Super League era – making a remarkable 72 tackles in a play-off win against Salford in September 2019.

Smithies has quickly established himself as one of Wigan’s strongest forwards, and has been compared to skipper Sean O’Loughlin by former coach Shaun Wane.

If he was to make the switch Down Under, he certainly wouldn’t look out of place.

Morgan Knowles

Knowles had a breakthrough season in 2016, playing 24 games, to become a first team regular in the process.

A versatile forward who can feature at loose forward, hooker or back-row, he scored the opening try in St Helens’ Grand Final victory over Salford in 2019, and was also selected in the Super League Dream Team that same year.

A former Wales international, making three appearances at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Knowles recently switched his international allegiances to England, and could make a big impact for Shaun Wane’s squad in 2021 and an NRL move could follow.

Joe Philbin

The Warrington forward made his debut in primrose and blue in 2014 against Hull KR in a 34-4 win at Craven Park, and became a first-team regular a few years later for the Wolves.

One of the most powerful forwards in the Super League, Philbin has represented Great Britain, earning caps from the bench against New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in the Lions’ tour Down Under in 2019.

He also featured for Ireland in their impressive 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign, and was picked for the England Knights against PNG the following year.

At the age of 25, we could yet see Philbin make the switch to the NRL.

Theo Fages

The France international half-back has previously been linked with a move to the NRL in 2019 before agreeing to a new contract extension with St Helens until the end of the 2021 season.

Fages, 26, made his Super League debut for Salford in 2013 before a switch to the Totally Wicked Stadium ahead of the 2016 campaign.

In 2020, he has scored three tries and assisted six more, and an NRL move could be made in the near-future.

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