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Every English player set to feature in the 2023 NRL season

Whilst Super League is a brilliant competition and has weekly displays of amazing drama and quality, it’s a widely held opinion that the NRL is rugby league’s elite competition.

Featuring all the world’s greatest stars for over two decades, the NRL has also seen many British exports take the competition by storm with Adrian Morley, James Graham and Sam Burgess all being prime examples.

At present, there are a number of England internationals plying their trade down under and heading into the 2023 season we have rounded them up so you know who and which teams to look out for over the months ahead.

Herbie Farnworth – Brisbane Broncos

The young centre has been seriously impressive during his professional career, all of which has been played in Australia, and English fans got a closer look at what all the hype is about when he played at the World Cup. Heading into the last year of his contract with the Broncos his two try performance in the semi-final against Samoa will have caught the eyes of many teams on both sides of the equator. A player to keep an eye on with a move on the cards potentially.

Elliot Whitehead – Canberra Raiders

Whitehead has been out in Australia since 2016 with the former Bradford Bulls and Catalans Dragons man having joined Canberra where he has since played 166 games across seven seasons. Capped over 20 times for England he put on eye-catching displays at the World Cup including two tries in the opening game hammering of Samoa. At 33-years-old the second-rower could have one or two more years at the elite level left, but a return to Super League at that point could be on the cards when his contract runs out at the end of 2024.

Luke Thompson – Canterbury Bulldogs

The former St Helens man and big hitting forward has his contract set to expire at the end of the season so whilst he’ll play in 2023, whether he plays in the NRL beyond that is unclear. At just 27-years-old Thompson is one of those players who is underappreciated, certainly more so in Australia considering there have been reports he’ll be shopped by Canterbury, as reported here. The 2019 Harry Sunderland Trophy winner will have plenty to offer any team in any league and so if he were to find his form in 2023 there’s no reason why the Bulldogs, who will be receiving advice from former Saint James Graham, won’t extend the big prop.

Oliver Gildart – Redcliffe Dolphins

One of the less established internationals on the list but Gildart has just linked up with the man who gave him his England cap, Wayne Bennett. Gildart joins the NRL’s newest team the Redcliffe Dolphins who will be led by Bennett with recently departed St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf serving an ‘apprenticeship’ as his assistant. Gildart is still only 26 having made the move to the NRL prior to last season but it hasn’t all clicked for him with Wests loaning him out and him now signing for a third team in just over 12 months. During his time at Wigan he made over 140 appearances and earned the 2017 Super League Young Player of the Year, which sandwiched his two Grand Final wins in 2016 and 2018.

Dom Young – Newcastle Knights 

Young announced himself to all English fans at the World Cup with an incredible performance including eight tries in the three group stage games. Those who knew of him certainly didn’t realise he was that good, and those who didn’t know certainly came to know. Young left Huddersfield and headed to the NRL at just 19-years-old and has since become a key player for the Knights. Heading into 2023 he’s also on his last year of a contract and with young English talents Will Pryce and Kai Pearce-Paul set to join the Knights for 2024, it’s still unclear what the future holds for Young.

Bailey Hodgson – Newcastle Knights

Another Knight in the list and it’s another youngster with 20-year-old Bailey Hodgson having joined Newcastle prior to the 2022 campaign from Castleford. Capable of playing across the back line but mainly as a full-back he made one appearance for Castleford in the Super League as an 18-year-old before joining the Knights this past season. He’s actually the nephew of the next man on this list.

Josh Hodgson – Parramatta Eels

Bailey’s Uncle also makes the list with the 33-year-old now being a seasoned veteran in the NRL having made the switch prior to the 2015 season. For the 2023 campaign though Hodgson will be wearing a new strip as he’s joined Parramatta Eels who fell short to Penrith Panthers in the Grand Final in 2022. It was the second straight season that the Eels fell in the playoffs to Penrith but the Hull-born hooker will look to fire them back to the big game. This new move has come with a two-year deal suggesting that if we’re to see him in the Super League anytime soon it won’t be till the 2025 season.

Tom Burgess – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Following his brother George’s retirement announcement earlier in the off-season, Tom is the only Burgess to remain in the NRL and even that might not last for long as he’s yet another Englishman who has his contract running out at the end of the season. Voted into the World Cup Team of the Tournament he still packs a huge punch when he runs and is industrious in his defence, there will likely be a market among Super League and NRL teams alike but for now he’ll aim for another Premiership win with the Bunnies.

Victor Radley – Sydney Roosters

Representing the other side named after the city that is the hub of rugby league in Australia, ‘Victor the Inflictor’ as he’s affectionately known is proving to be one of the best players in the NRL and performed brilliantly at the World Cup. Off the field issues can be an issue for Radley with fines before in the NRL and the alleged incident between himself and Leeds Rhinos’ James Bentley following the semi-final defeat to Samoa. Radley will command a huge fee when he also comes off contract in 2023.

John Bateman – Wests Tigers

The newest addition and the last on this list is John Bateman with the former Wigan and Canberra man making the return to the NRL. Bateman will play under former Hull KR boss Tim Sheens and is one of the few on this list that we likely won’t see in Super League anytime soon as he’s signed a four-year contract at Wests as the club try to turn around their poor form of the last decade really.

Jackson Hastings – Newcastle Knights

An honourable mention in this list is the former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings. Whilst Hastings is Australian born he has represented Great Britain and could therefore be classed as an Englishman. Hastings has joined the Knights ahead of the 2023 campaign after a torrid spell at Wests Tigers upon his return to Australia. With one Australian media outlet having pinned all hopes for Knights’ 2023 season on Hastings calling him “the key”, the former Salford and Wigan man will have a huge role in 2023.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Owain

    January 5, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    Bateman joining Hastings at tigers. Then in the next paragraph Hastings at the Knights but mentions Tigers pinning their hopes on him in 2023 and have a hug role. Think the author of this article had 1 to many beers by the time they arrived at the last 2 players.

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