Five Championship stars ready to make the step up to Super League

THE Championship is a hotbed of rugby league talent.

You only have to look at the likes of Tyler Dupree (Salford Red Devils), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants) and James Harrison (Warrington Wolves) and see that the second tier has a whole host of gems waiting to be unearthed.

So, looking at the current crop of Championship stars, who is ready for Super League?

Lachlan Walmsley – Halifax Panthers

It was only last year when Scotland international Lachlan Walmsley was linked with a move to Super League’s Wigan. However, the fair-haired flyer chose to sign a new contract with Halifax – and the West Yorkshire side are already reaping the rewards with a number of spectacular finishes and long-range tries. Not only is Walmsley a potent attacking threat, the winger doesn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities either.

Bailey Antrobus – York Knights

It’s a wonder that Bailey Antrobus hasn’t been snapped up by a top-flight side already really, he is that good for the York Knights. Just 23 years old, Antrobus joined York for the 2022 season and played all three group games for Wales in the recent Rugby League World Cup. With a tremendously strong carry and the ability to defend like his life depends on it, the former St George Illawarra forward is definitely a Super League player in waiting.

Riley Dean – Featherstone Rovers

It’s a bit of a cop out this one considering he is a Warrington player, but Riley Dean has been tearing the Championship up in 2023 so far. The Featherstone halfback could well be a contender for the Championship Player of the Year with his effortless running game and his prolific kicking prowess bossing almost every game he has been a part of. It is no surprise that he is thought of so highly at both Featherstone and Warrington – he will surely be a Super League player in 2024.

Josh Hodson – Batley Bulldogs

London-born Josh Hodson has been a part of the Batley side since 2022 but looks even more impressive in 2023. At 25 years of age, the centre has the potential to make it big in the second tier and then potentially the first tier, but Hodson’s rise has been slightly different than most. Hodson played both codes of rugby as a youngster before earning a professional deal with the London Broncos in 2020. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength and looks to be a key player for Craig Lingard’s team.

AJ Wallace – Bradford Bulls

AJ Wallace does have experience of being around a Super League side having come through the ranks of Leeds, but left without playing a first-team game for the Rhinos. Since then, 20-year-old Wallace has established himself as one of the most exciting second-rowers in the second tier with Bradford and has been linked with a move to the top tier in the past year. An exciting ball-carrier with strength in abundance, the Jamaican international will surely make it to the big time sooner rather than later.