BEING a modern day back-rower is one of the most interesting positions on a rugby league field.
Whilst playing an essential pack role in terms of beefing up the defence and shutting down plays out wide, a back-rower must also be able to run great attacking lines and help feed the centre and winger outside.
Here are five of the best in Super League.
5. Kane Linnett – Hull KR
One of Hull KR’s best overseas signings in recent years, Kane Linnett has become an integral part of the Robins’ side since joining ahead of the 2019 season. A dominant runner with a great sleight of hand, Linnett causes havoc in opposition defences whilst also being a rock in his own defensive line. 82 appearances later at Craven Park and ‘The Big Red Machine’ is exactly that for his club and will earn Willie Peters’ trust immediately going forward.
4. Chris McQueen – Huddersfield Giants
Joining the Huddersfield Giants as a 33-year-old, many thought Chris McQueen was coming to Super League to retire. Maybe he will retire in the near future, but not after creating a lasting legacy at the John Smith’s Stadium. McQueen has been in the form of his life at Huddersfield in the past three seasons, earning the Lance Todd Trophy in the 2022 Challenge Cup Final despite being on the losing side against the Wigan Warriors. A dynamic runner with brilliant hands, McQueen has quickly asserted himself as one of the most dangerous second-rowers in the UK.
3. Rhyse Martin – Leeds Rhinos
Arguably one of Leeds Rhinos’ best overseas signings since the days of Kylie Leuluai, Rhyse Martin has become a hero on the terraces at Headingley. The Papua New Guinea international has played 74 games but accrued almost 600 points, almost breaking the goal-kicking record after 41 successful conversions in the recent World Cup. That being said, the Leeds second-rower is still only 29 having joined Leeds at the back end of 2019 and will continue to taunt Super League defences for years to come.
2. Joe Batchelor – St Helens
It’s been an incredible rise for Joe Batchelor since moving to St Helens back in 2019. Remember, the second-rower only became a regular starter under Kristian Woolf in 2021 following the exits of Zeb Taia and Dominique Peyroux – and it’s fair to say Batchelor hasn’t looked back since. His tremendous rise was epitomised with a call-up to the England squad for the Rugby League World Cup, with the 28-year-old featuring once against Greece. Quickly becoming one of the first men on the teamsheet for Saints, 2023 should be yet another stellar year for Batchelor.
1. Liam Farrell – Wigan Warriors
Mr. Consistency, Liam Farrell is criminally underrated by most of Super League – but not by Wigan Warriors fans. The second-rower never has a bad week and is a consistent 8/10 performer if not higher each fixture. It was a major loss for England that Farrell was injured for the recent Rugby League World Cup because he would have added an extra dimension out wide with his superb running angles and deceptive speed. At 32 years of age, Farrell is perhaps entering the twilight years of his career, but he has yet to show any signs of slowing down.
Honourable mention to Kallum Watkins who has enjoyed two stellar seasons at Salford Red Devils. However, he was played in the centres in the World Cup.