Super League’s underrated XIII

We’re six rounds into the new Super League season, and already there are a number of players leading the race to grab individual accolades at the end of the year.

For the likes of Rhys Hanbury, Chris Sandow and Denny Solomona, they have most certainly not been short of praise in the opening weeks of the season, and rightly so.

But for all the much-admired stars, there are some players that just don’t get the recognition their hard work warrants, whether it be for try scoring contributions, last ditch tackles or the sheer workload they get through, they just seem to go unnoticed by the media and supporters alike.

So we only felt it right that we paid testament to those players by scouring the stats and giving those going unnoticed a well-deserved pat on the back.

Full-back – Tony Gigot (Catalans Dragons)

Gigot has made more carries, metres and breaks than any other player in the Dragons side. Only four players average more yards per carry, and he has already contributed to four tries this season.

The Dragons have had a number of great full-backs over the years, including Brent Webb, Clint Greenshields and Morgan Escare, but Gigot could soon be regarded in that bracket.

Winger – Matty Russell (Warrington Wolves)

Not only is Russell one of Warrington’s best performers this season, but one of Super League’s top players.

He ranks in the top four players in four categories; tackle busts, carries, metres made and dummy runs, and ranks high in other categories too.

With two tries and as many assists to his name already, it’s been an impressive start to the season.

Centre – Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils)

His six try haul is the stat that stands out for Griffin, but there is much more to his game than that. He has been particularly strong in attack, with only teammate Justin Carney making more metres than him so far this season, while he also averages more metres per carry than any other player in Super League.

Centre – Jake Webster (Castleford Tigers)

If you ask Castleford fans, they will happily speak highly about Webster.

With a number of man of the match efforts already, Webster has proved to be a vital cog in wing partner Denny Solomona’s success so far this season.

Two tries and two assists put the icing on top of the cake for Webster, who has already made 600 metres this year.

Winger – Ben Cockayne (Hull KR)

Cockayne has assisted NINE tries this year, only behind Michael Dobson and Chris Sandow. He’s made more breaks than any other player in the Rovers side and also made more carries.

Arguably the most underrated player in the whole competition.

Stand-off – Michael Dobson (Salford Red Devils)

As mentioned previously, Dobson has more assists than anyone else in Super League so far, with 12 assists already to his name.

Beyond that, he has made over 30 attacking kicks, only behind Luke Walsh and Kevin Brown, and forced a number of drop-outs.

Robert Lui gets a lot of credit, but Dobson deserves just as much.

Scrum-half – Joe Mellor (Widnes Vikings)

By our reckoning, Mellor is currently the player of the season.

Four tries and four assists is impressive enough, but add to that his 27 tackle busts, bettered by just six other players, and his offensive kicking game, his contribution is on a par with that of partner Kevin Brown.

Prop – Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils)

If you look at the stats, Kopczak is one of the best forward in Super League at present.

Our third Salford player in this team has averaged almost 15 carries, 87 metres and 28 tackles per game so far, with only the likes of John Bateman managing to better that.

His standards might have slipped somewhat in his last year at Huddersfield, but he’s certainly back to his best at the minute.

Hooker – Danny Houghton (Hull FC)

Everyone knows his defensive exploits, but they really are invaluable.

Houghton is currently averaging 40 tackles a game this season… 40!

But beyond that he has also made six try assists – seventh best in the competition, and 43 runs from dummy half. Only James Roby has done more.

A truly exceptional player that doesn’t get enough credit.

Prop – Anthony England (Wakefield Wildcats)

The workhorse in the Wildcats team, England ranks high in most categories.

Already making 202 tackles, 88 carries and over 500 metres, England is one of the highest ranked forwards in the league.

Considering he only played seven minutes against Hull FC last week before going off injured, his stats really are impressive.

Second-row – Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves)

With a 97% tackle success rate, Hughes’ defensive work certainly doesn’t get the credit it warrants.

But he is also a threat going forward too. He doesn’t stand out in any category but is comfortably above average in them all.

An unsung hero if ever there was one.

Second-row – Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants)

Like Hughes, Lawrence doesn’t set the world alight in any category, but comfortably averages better than the rest of his Super League peers.

Another man with a 97% tackle success rate, Lawrence also does his fair share of carries and metres.

He’s also scored three tries this year.

Loose-forward – Hep Cahill (Widnes Vikings)

Cahill is Super League’s top tackler, making 269 tackles at an average of 38 per game.

He’s also made 108 carries, only bettered by Adam Cuthbertson, Chris Sandow and Dan Sarginson while the only forwards to make more metres than him this year are Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley, which isn’t something to be upset about!