Super League 2015 saw the emergence of some bright young talents in Rugby League, and expect 2016 to be just as big.
The likes of Andre Savelio at St Helens, Widnes’ Matt Whitley and Leeds’ Brad Singleton all had what we’d consider to be major breakthrough years – with many more alongside them.
But who’s going to be the ones to watch out for in 2016? Which young stars will go from exciting prospect to established household name in the competition? Let’s take a look into the future and look at six young players we think are on the way up in this week’s Six of the Best.
Niall Evalds (Salford) – 2015 was a breakthrough year of sorts for Evalds, the young full-back playing 25 games in Super League. But with Salford expected to go much better in 2016 and Evalds likely to be the man of choice for Ian Watson at the back again, he will play a key role in any potential improvement they may have next season. One to watch, for sure.
Jack Logan (Hull FC) – Having been handed the number four shirt for 2016 tells you all you need to know about how highly rated Hull centre Jack Logan is by Lee Radford. Logan made 12 appearances in Super League last year for the Black and Whites but he should be much more of a regular in 2016. He possesses great skill and outstanding feet, and is tipped to go all the way to the top at Hull.
Tom Johnstone (Wakefield) – Johnstone is another who began to show Super League what he was capable of in 2015, appearing for Wakefield 10 times in Super League, scoring an incredible nine tries. With Wakefield shuffling their squad about for 2016, Johnstone will surely be a more consistent member of Brian Smith’s team in 2016 – with yet more tries expected from the flying winger.
Will Maher (Castleford) – We really like the look of Cumbrian native Maher, who is arguably one of the biggest teenage prospects we’ve seen – at least in terms of size! The big prop is reportedly training the house down at Castleford so far in pre-season, so Tigers fans can expect to see him take part in some of their friendlies. Beyond that, he’ll surely get his chance and take it with both hands in Super League.
Oliver Roberts (Huddersfield) – The form of Huddersfield’s back-rowers last year meant young talent Oliver Roberts didn’t actually make his debut for the club in 2015 – but that will change in 2016. He played in all three of Ireland’s games in the European Championship this past autumn, and that should be the springboard for a big campaign next year.
Lewis Tierney (Wigan) – Tierney will get his chance at full-back in the opening weeks of the season due to the knee injury suffered by Sam Tomkins whilst in the NRL. Even when Tomkins returns, Tierney will likely be first reserve on the wing for Josh Charnley and Dom Manfredi – if he forces into the team, his talent will ensure he gets a lengthy run in the side, you’d suspect.
Anyone we’ve missed? Let us know on social media!