Five players with a point to prove in 2019

Josh Drinkwater (Hull KR)

How can a player who turned a club’s season around and won the Challenge Cup in the space of a month have a point to prove, you ask?

Well it’s quite simple really. Despite his heroics in Perpignan, Catalans still couldn’t justify paying the halfback the eyewatering salary his representatives were asking for.

Neither would several other interested parties, either, it wasn’t until his demands dropped considerably that Hull KR decided to take a punt on him.

It’s clear that Drinkwater and/or his representative have lofty expectations. Perhaps they have every right to do so after his exploits last year.

But let’s not forget that this is the same Josh Drinkwater who suffered relegation in 2017 with Leigh.

He probably proved a lot of people wrong last year, but he’s still got a way to go to convince everyone of his talent.

Theo Fages (St Helens)

For so, so long, for one reason or another, there has always appeared to be a stumbling block for the young Frenchman.

Whether it be issues in his homeland or at Salford, or a sheer lack of game time at St Helens, it feels like we’ve not quite yet seen the best of the diminutive half.

Yet at just 24 years of age and over 150 appearances to his name, Fages has enjoyed a career so far most players his age could only dream of.

But his career projection could sky-rocket this year. Justin Holbrook has heavily suggested he will start games this season, rather than be played off the bench.

If he gets that, he’ll be operating in a supremely talented side, one he’ll be expected to guide to glory.

It’s up to him to prove he’s got the capability to do that from there.

Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos)


Stevie Ward is into his eighth season now and his career has been exceptional and unfulfilling at the same time.

There’s absolutely no doubting his ability. He’s a warrior, a grafter and an exceptionally skilled forward too.

But every time it’s appeared he is on the cusp of something, injuries have struck him down. It cost him a place at the World Cup in 2017, it wiped out his entire 2016 and saw him stutter through last season too.

Ward is international class. Few would dispute that. But he just needs some luck on the injury front.

The positive news is that he’s got a full pre-season under his belt, only the second of his career.

If he can continue to stay on the pitch, 2019 could be a huge year for the 25-year-old.

Joe Wardle (Huddersfield Giants)

His first year back in Super League was a peculiar one for Joe Wardle.

The Scotland international arrived at Cas as their big signing off the back of their 2017 exploits.

He seemed like the perfect Daryl Powell player. But for one reason or another, things simply did not click.

He’s back at Huddersfield now, a place where he won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013 and performed to such lengths that he earned his move to the NRL.

Quite simply, he’s now got to recapture that form.

George Williams (Wigan Warriors)

It’s harsh to put a halfback fresh off winning another Grand Final in a list like this.

But here’s the thing. George Williams has been tipped for greatness since the early stages of his career. So far, he’s not shown enough to suggest he will reach that level.

Williams is 24 now and still has his best years ahead of him, but many thought he’d have hit heights he’s yet to at this stage of his career. Sure, he’s played his part in team success, but individually, he’s not been the guy at Wigan.

That could change this year. Adrian Lam has spoken highly of him and if the shackles are loosened, allowing Williams to play more that he sees in front of him, he could well be the world-class talent we’re waiting to see week in week out.

It has to be soon.