The superb 13 the USA could select if they chose from every eligible player, including Super League & NRL stars

Ben Olawumi
Shane Wright, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Tyler Dupree

From left to right: Shane Wright, Ronaldo Mulitalo & Tyler Dupree are all eligible to represent the USA

Over the next few months, we’re looking at the dream side each nation could select if they were able to choose from every eligible player. On the back of Monday’s announcement that Super League will be heading to Las Vegas in 2025, we thought it only right to profile the USA next!

In these feature pieces, we are selecting a starting 13 to represent a particular country. This can include players born there, those with heritage to the nation or even those eligible via residency rules.

It doesn’t matter where players ply their trade on the domestic front, be it in Super League, the NRL or even elsewhere. These line-ups are made in collaboration with He Can Play For on X (formerly Twitter). Make sure to check their page out!

So, without further ado, here’s the USA‘s dream 13…

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1. Ryan Burroughs (Washington DC Cavalry)

Ryan Burroughs
Ryan Burroughs in action for the USA against Italy at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

We kick things off with Virginia-born utility back Burroughs, who is still plying his trade in America with North American Rugby League outfit Washington DC Cavalry. Having made his full international debut back in September 2015 and gone on to appear in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, the 32-year-old’s appearance tally for the USA is now in double figures.

The ex-Northern Virginia Eagles & Wentworthville Magpies spent time in the British game with Toronto Wolfpack, London Skolars & Barrow Raiders. Between 2017 and 2018, he racked up 20 tries in 38 appearances combined donning the colours of that trio, departing Barrow to join up with Washington-based rugby union outfit Old Glory DC at the time.

2. Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla Sharks)

Mulitalo was born in Auckland, and has Samoan descent – so has represented both the Kiwis & Samoa on the international front. His mother’s family hail from American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States, and he has already pulled on a shirt for America in 9s format, doing so in the 2019 Rugby League World Cup.

Still a teenager then, the winger made his NRL debut for Cronulla in April 2019 having joined the Sharks’ youth ranks two years prior. Now 24, he recently surpassed a century of first-grade appearances Down Under, and has 75 tries to his name.

3. Max Lehmann (Bradford Bulls)

Lehmann was born in America, but raised in Australia, and joined Championship outfit Bradford last month on a deal until the end of the 2024 season. His impact has been an instant one, scoring a try in both of his appearances for the Bulls to date – including one in last weekend’s 20-20 draw across the Channel at Toulouse Olympique.

The outside-back joined Eamon O’Carroll’s side from Brisbane Tigers, who he’d already scored 16 tries in 22 appearances for across an 18-month spell.

4. Kyle Granby (Brooklyn Kings)

The second North American Rugby League ace in this side is Granby, who made his international debut for the ‘Hawks’ in December 2023 against Jamaica. Marking the occasion with a hat-trick of tries and two goals, he was responsible for over half of the USA’s points in a 30-26 victory. Based in New York, the centre plays at club level for the Brooklyn Kings.

Elsewhere, Granby – who was also involved in March this year as America took on Canada – co-founded ‘ROOTS Rugby Family’, an

5. Bureta Faraimo (Doncaster)

Bureta Faraimo
Bureta Faraimo in action for the USA at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup against Papua New Guinea

Faraimo is the first man in this team who has already donned a shirt for the USA at full international level – wearing the Stars and Stripes on 11 occasions, most recently in November 2019. The winger was born in Wellington, but his heritage links him back to Swains Island which is a part of American Samoa.

At club level, the 33-year-old is now in the Championship with Doncaster, who he joined midway through last season and helped to promotion from League 1. Starting out over in the NRL with Parramatta Eels, Faraimo has been in the British game since his arrival at Hull FC in 2018 – amassing 128 club career appearances since then having also spent time with Castleford Tigers.

6. Zac Makelim (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Youngster Makelim is yet to make his NRL bow for Souths, but has impressed in their New South Wales Cup side – forming a part of the squad which won that second-grade competition last year and having featured four times in it so far this season. He’s done enough to earn a spot in our side.

The playmaker is related to ex-Sheffield Eagles full-back Corey Makelim, now 30, who made eight appearances for the USA on the international front via the family’s heritage, featuring in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Corey scored a try on debut for the Hawks in December 2015 against Canada.

7. Dion Teaupa (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Dion Teaupa
South Sydney Rabbitohs young gun Dion Teaupa celebrates his first NRL try – scored against Parramatta Eels in Round 12 of the 2024 season

It’s a young Bunnies double in the halves with Teaupa, who has made his first three NRL appearances so far this season, taking our #7 spot. Debuting for the Bunnies and doing so at the age of 22, he also scored his first-ever senior try, getting on the scoresheet in a 42-26 victory against Parramatta in Round 12.

His success comes as no surprise given that last autumn saw Teaupa make his international debut, featuring twice for Tonga in their Test Series defeat against England – coming on off the bench at both the Totally Wicked Stadium and the John Smith’s Stadium. The young gun was born in New South Wales, but has both Tongan and American descent.

8. Royce Hunt (Cronulla Sharks)

28-year-old Hunt hails from Sydney, but has heritage linking him to Hawaii, the Māori, the US and Samoa. The Cronulla powerhouse has represented the latter on six occasions, making his bow for Toa Samoa in the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup and scoring a try on debut against Greece.

Born in the suburb of Liverpool, Hunt had only made one NRL appearance until 2020, with that coming for Canberra Raiders in 2017. After a few years back at second-grade level, he was picked up by the Sharks and has since gone on to make 64 appearances for them.

9. Harrison Graham (Dolphins)

Harrison Graham
Harrison Graham in action for the Dolphins in 2023

Dolphins youngster Graham is another Australian native ace with American heritage, born in the New South Wales city of Lismore. Moving to Queensland at a young age, he played junior rugby league for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, featuring in their Mal Meninga Cup (under-18s) Grand Final defeat to the Tweed Heads Seagulls in 2019.

Now 22, Graham also played in Queensland’s under-18 & under-19 State of Origin teams, and went on to make his NRL debut last year for the Dolphins in Round 17. The hooker made six first-grade appearances in total in 2023.

10. Franklin Pele (Bradford Bulls)

23-year-old Pele – born in Auckland – is another with both Samoan & American descent. His family moved to Sydney when he was seven, and his NRL debut eventually came with Cronulla in Round 12 against the Gold Coast Titans. The powerhouse then added six first-grade appearances to his tally Down Under with Canterbury Bulldogs in 2023, and earned his move to Super League.

The front-rower joined Hull FC on a two-year deal, but after a tumultuous few months, his time at the MKM Stadium came to an end. Pele had already spent time on loan in the Championship with York, and made a permanent return there as he joined Bradford on a deal until the end of the season, with 12 appearances – and two tries – in the British game overall so far.

11. Luke Bain (Wakefield Trinity)

Luke Bain
Luke Bain (ball in hand) celebrating scoring a try for Wakefield Trinity in 2024

Staying in the Championship, versatile forward Bain was actually born in America. Native to Concord in New Hampshire, he moved to Australia as a youngster, but is of Scottish descent and represented the Bravehearts in the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup with appearances off the bench in each of their three group games – including one against the Kangaroos!

Down Under, he featured in the New South Wales Cup for Parramatta that same year, with his first taste of senior rugby league at club level coming this season with Wakefield. Penning a two-year deal at Belle Vue, the 23-year-old has thus far scored one try – on debut against Swinton Lions – in seven Trinity appearances.

12. Shane Wright (Salford Red Devils)

We round off this 13 with two Super League aces, starting with Salford forward Wright, who joined the Red Devils in 2022 and has made 40 appearances for Paul Rowley’s side to date having missed a large chunk of last season through injury. Prior, he’d featured 41 times in the NRL for the North Queensland Cowboys, making his first-grade debut Down Under in 2017.

Wright was born in Perth, and his eligibility to represent the USA comes via his heritage. The 28-year-old is yet to make an international appearance for any country.

13. Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors)

Tyler Dupree
Tyler Dupree in action for Wigan Warriors in 2024

We’re slotting Wigan forward Dupree in at loose, not his natural position, but one he’s played before. The Halifax-born ace’s American heritage comes through his maternal grandfather – ‘Champion Jack’ Dupree – who was a famous blues singer from New Orleans that toured the world before settling in England – the nation Tyler has represented twice now.

Dupree – who has won everything there is to win with Wigan – joined the Warriors from Salford midway through last season, and has featured 25 time for Matt Peet’s side at the time of writing. Having been released by Leeds Rhinos without making a senior appearance, the 24-year-old has gone on to don the shirts of seven different clubs – including all loan appearances – to date.

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