The 2018 season is nearly upon us, so we’ve decided to take a look at the top 13 young players who could make a big impact in Super League this year.
JAMES BENTLEY (ST HELENS)
The 21-year-old joined Saints in the off-season from Bradford Bulls and is a highly-rated second-row, who can also play at loose forward.
He has been a stand-out performer in the Championship for the last couple of years so now it’s time to try his luck in Super League. He runs a great line and gets stuck in.
JAKE SHORROCKS (WIGAN WARRIORS)
The 22-year-old burst onto the scene with a string of impressive performances for Shaun Wane’s side in 2016 and made 11 appearances that season.
However, injuries weren’t kind to him in 2017, limiting him to just one appearance. He everything in his locker to make it as a great half-back, and is a brilliant goal-kicker.
WILL DAGGER (HULL KR)
The 18-year-old’s transfer from Warrington Wolves to the newly-promoted Hull Kingston Rovers was pretty strange because he is one of the hottest prospects in the game.
He is a classic full-back or winger with pace to burn and an eye for the try-line. He played four games for the Wolves in 2017 and could make a big impact on Super League in 2018.
BENJAMIN JULLIEN (CATALANS DRAGONS)
Jullien is only 22 but he has played Rugby League in France, Australia, Wales and England so far! He is a journeyman but he has moved back home to the South of France for next year.
He made 36 appearances for Warrington in two seasons and you still feel like there is still plenty to come. If there is, then there is no place like home to do it… It will be interesting to see how he gets on, with him being settled back in Perpignan of course.
DARNELL MCINTOSH (HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS)
The 20-year-old gained trust from Giants head coach Rick Stone in the 2017 season and gained a lot of experience playing under the Australian.
He played 23 games last season, scoring 12 tries. There is no reason why he can’t kick on in 2018 and play more games and score even more tries. He has lethal footwork.
NICK RAWSTHORNE (HULL FC)
The 22-year-old has a good attitude and is willing to learn. He scored three tries and kicked two goals in four games for Lee Radford’s side in 2017.
He played for four clubs last season though as he spent time on loan at York City Knights, Doncaster and Leigh Centurions, not to mention FC’s Reserves as well. If he can get a string of games under his belt, he will be full of confidence and may just give Radford a little headache with his team selection.
WILL OAKES (HULL KR)
Oakes is only 18 years of age but he has more experience than some 23-year-old’s in the professional ranks. He made his first team debut away at Wigan Warriors just a month after his 17th birthday and has excelled ever since.
He was the youngest member of the England Academy squad that went on tour of Australia in 2016 but that didn’t faze him. He has bagged four tries in nine games already for the Robins and represented Scotland at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
JORDAN LILLEY (LEEDS RHINOS)
It seems like Lilley has been around for a while but he is still only 21-years-old. He made his Leeds debut in 2015 and has had loan spells with Hunslet, Featherstone Rovers and Bradford Bulls.
Leeds legends Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow left the club at the end of last season so could we possibly Lilley filling those gaps in 2018? He’s going to be a great player.
RYAN SUTTON (WIGAN WARRIORS)
Sutton is another player who seems to have been around for quite a while but he is still only 22 years of age. He has made 91 first team appearances already! Astonishing.
He makes our list because we feel there is still plenty more to come from him. He is a regular in Wane’s outfit and is a big impact player. He mixes it up in the middle with other forwards 10 years older than him. A future international.
HARVEY LIVETT (WARRINGTON WOLVES)
The 20-year-old is thought of in high regard around the Warrington club and fans soon supported him once he made his debut against Catalans Dragons in 2017.
He even featured in Warrington’s World Club Series victory over Brisbane Broncos and went on to play 13 games in 2017, scoring two tries and kicking 10 goals. He will offer new coach Steve Price a bit of versatility this season, with him being able to play at centre, half-back or even in the back-row.
DANNY WALKER (WIDNES VIKINGS)
Widnes have received a lot of credit lately from the media and fans about their talented Academy graduates and rightly so. Walker, 18, is the cream of the crop.
The England Academy international made his debut against Leigh Centurions and impressed Denis Betts, going on to play 11 more games. He is a traditional hooker with a feisty attitude.
DANNY RICHARDSON (ST HELENS)
The 21-year-old was in and out of Justin Holbrook’s Saints side last season, mainly due to the arrival of Ben Barba and swapping of players and positions.
However, he still managed to get 13 Super League games under his belt while also spending time on loan at Championship side Sheffield Eagles. His kicking ability is second to none and has a lot of flare. At Under-19s level, the half-backs that always stood out were Shorrocks and Richardson.
JOSH GANSON (WIGAN WARRIORS)
Last but certainly not least is Wigan’s highly-rated young hooker, Ganson. The 19-year-old made four appearances last year, scoring two tries and grabbing an assist.
He is the current Under-19s captain at Wigan and he also is the skipper of England Academy, captaining them around on their tour of Australia earlier this year. Micky McIlorum has left the Warriors but Ganson is certainly capable of filling his boots.
One of the best defensive hookers you’ll see, who loves a quick scoot and a killer pass.
How many of these young players will be future internationals? Let us know in the comments below.