League Express editor MARTYN SADLER pays tribute to the players who were ever-presents in 2021.
The year 2021 was a momentous one for Rugby League.
It should have been a year in which we celebrated the biggest ever World Cup.
But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and instead the tournament was postponed for a year when the Australian and New Zealand Rugby League authorities unilaterally pulled out of the tournament with an announcement to that effect in August.
At the time it felt like a devastating blow.
But with hindsight, with the tournament now scheduled to begin in October 2022, the postponement doesn’t look as though it will have done the tournament a great deal of harm.
An additional twelve months to prepare will probably help some of the nations that will be involved, especially the French, who have a group of younger players currently coming through the ranks and who look likely to be much stronger in 2022 than they would have been in 2021.
And that prospect is truly worth anticipating.
Meanwhile I was looking through the League Express Rugby League Yearbook 2021-22 to look at the appearance totals for each club.
In doing so, the thought struck me that we should surely admire a special group of players – those who played in every match of their clubs’ seasons, in both Super League, the Championship, League 1 and the Challenge Cup.
In such a difficult year, which started with teams playing behind closed doors, while there was continuing uncertainty due to the pandemic about whether fixtures would go ahead, it’s a remarkable achievement for any player never to have missed a game.
So here is the list of those who managed that achievement in Super League, the Championship and League 1.
To be good enough to be selected in every round and able to avoid absence due to injury is a remarkable thing and the ones on this list surely deserve our admiration and gratitude as we approach the end of the year.
Perhaps the biggest accolade should go to Wigan winger Jake Bibby.
Wigan were the only club to fulfil all their fixtures in 2021. So Jake played 28 matches in 2021, including 26 in Super League and two in the Challenge Cup. And he started in each game.
Joe Shorrocks and Harry Smith also played in all Wigan’s games, but those two players were not always in the starting lineup.
Here is the full list of players who turned out in every game for their club in 2021.
I think they deserve to be recognised for their staying power and their contributions to some great entertainment during the 2021 season.
Super League players who played in every club game in 2021
Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Kane Linnett (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Jez Litten (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Tom Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos)
Brad Dwyer (Leeds Rhinos)
Ben Hellewell (Leigh Centurions)
David Fifita (Wakefield Trinity)
Jake Bibby (Wigan Warriors)
Joe Shorrocks (Wigan Warriors)
Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)
Championship players who played in every club game in 2021
Ben White (Batley Bulldogs)
Rhys Evans (Bradford Bulls)
Brandon Moore (Halifax Panthers)
Abbas Miski (London Broncos)
Liam Bent (Oldham)
Danny Langtree (Oldham)
Max Roberts (Oldham)
Aaron Brown (Sheffield Eagles)
Olly Davies (Sheffield Eagles)
Mitch Cox (Swinton Lions)
Johnathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique)
Mathieu Jussaume (Toulouse Olympique)
Deon Cross (Widnes Vikings)
Adam Lawton (Widnes Vikings)
Will Tilleke (Widnes Vikings)
League 1 players who played in every club game in 2021
Carl Forster (Barrow Raiders)
Dan Coates (Coventry Bears)
Reece Rance (Coventry Bears)
Dave Scott (Coventry Bears)
Jack Miller (Keighley Cougars)
Neil Thorman (London Skolars)
Jordy Gibson (North Wales Crusaders)
Gav Rodden (North Wales Crusaders)
Josh Jordan-Roberts (Rochdale Hornets)
Ashley Bateman (West Wales Raiders)
Rhys Clarke (Workington Town)
Jamie Doran (Workington Town)
Conor Fitzsimmons (Workington Town)
Carl Former (Workington Town)
Brad Holroyd (Workington Town)
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