The Players Who Lasted The Course

At the end of the year I like to pay tribute to those people in Rugby League who deserve our admiration for what they have achieved during the year and our thanks for the entertainment they have provided us with.

And there is one group of people who I like to single out for praise – those players who managed to play in every one of their teams’ matches during the season.
In Super League in 2022, that list is limited to just four players.

There are two from Castleford – Joe Westerman and Mahe Fonua – and two others from Leeds Rhinos and St Helens – Mikolaj Oledzki and Joey Lussick.

Given that there have been close to 400 players playing in Super League this season, whether in just one game or for a full season, the fact that only one per cent of them can manage to play in every game tells us a lot about the attritional nature of our sport.

And the players who have succeeded in that achievement surely deserve our admiration.

Of those four, the only one who started every game he played in was Westerman (pictured above). It’s a remarkable achievement for a player who celebrated his 33rd birthday last month and illustrates what a good buy he was from Wakefield Trinity at the end of the 2021 season.

In 2021 there were ten Super League players who turned out in every one of their clubs’ games, which reflects the fact that it was a much shorter season last year.
And the same thing is true for the Championship and League One, which saw seven players and eight players respectively who played in all their teams’ matches.

A Championship player to note is Olly Davies (above), who played in every one of Widnes’s games in 2022 after appearing in every one of Sheffield Eagles’ matches in 2021. What a good signing he was!

And in League 1, Jack Miller (pictured above receiving his League 1 Player of the Year trophy) not only completed every game for Keighley Cougars for the second successive season but also scored in every game, with 338 points in League 1 making him that competition’s top scorer, winning him the vote as League 1 Player of the Year.

Super League players who played in every club game in 2022: Mahe Fonua (Castleford Tigers), Joe Westerman (Castleford Tigers), Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos), Joey Lussick (St Helens).

Championship players who played in every club game in 2022: Kieran Gill (Bradford Bulls), Iliess Macani (London Broncos), Dean Parata (London Broncos), Blake Broadbent (Sheffield Eagles), Olly Davies (Widnes Vikings), Matty Smith (Widnes Vikings), James Glover (York City Knights).

League One players who played in every club game in 2022: Charlie Graham (Keighley Cougars), Aaron Levy (Keighley Cougars), Jack Miller (Keighley Cougars), Nathan Newbound (Midlands Hurricanes), Patrick Ah Van (North Wales Crusaders), Callum Hazzard (North Wales Crusaders), Dan Abram (Swinton Lions), Mitch Cox (Swinton Lions).

This is an updated version of Martyn Sadler’s ‘Talking Rugby League’ column that appeared in this week’s edition of League Express.

The original version of the article failed to include the three Keighley Cougars players in the list of League 1 players above because the Cougars had one game awarded to them against London Skolars for failing to provide a doctor, so the Cougars’ players played one game fewer than most of the other teams in League 1 in 2022.