The second tier is an eclectic mix of rugby league players; from part-timers to full-timers, the Championship has an abundance of stars that, for some reason, have just never made it to the big-time or have dropped down a league. But, just which five players would make it in Super League if given the opportunity?
He’s now 31 years of age, so making it in Super League would need to be achieved within the next year or two. Yet, Mark Kheirallah is still one of the stand-out players in the Championship, regularly wowing audiences with his unbridled skill as well as impeccable game management from the fullback position. The Frenchman has been at Toulouse since 2012 and will be a key figure for the club in their charge for promotion. Castleford were reportedly after the number one following the departure of Zak Hardaker, but Kheirallah opted to stay with Sylvain Houles’ side.
Brad Day actually began his career at Castleford, appearing once in Super League for the club before moving to Batley in the second-tier. There he became an established back-rower before a move to Featherstone propelled Day into the limelight. He’s one of the best forwards in the Championship and was linked with a move to Leeds Rhinos in the past, but nothing came of it. On his day, the powerful back-rower terrorises defences and would be a shrewd acquisition for any Super League side – particularly when he is still only 26.
Born in Leeds, James Harrison burst onto the scene with Batley after coming through the Bradford Bulls scholarship. After three successful seasons with the Bulldogs, Harrison made the move to Featherstone where he has stamped his authority as one of the best front-rowers in the second tier. It was no wonder then that Leeds took the prop on-loan during an injury crisis back in 2020, where Harrison played four games. The 25-year-old didn’t look out of place and would definitely thrive in a Super League environment, which is the reason as to why Warrington have reportedly signed him.
The third Featherstone Rover in this list, Frankie Halton only joined the West Yorkshire club from Swinton ahead of the 2021 season, but he has impressed greatly so far. With him signing on the dotted line at Hull KR for 2022 and beyond, 24-year-old Halton will find himself playing Super League a lot quicker than he perhaps thought. With size and pace in abundance, Halton is devastating out wide and will no doubt carve it up in the first tier too.
He’s been a mainstay in the Bradford side since 2017, but Brandon Pickersgill looks every bit a Super League player in the making. Still only 24, he’s made over half a century of appearances for the Bulls as a fullback. However, Pickersgill can play in the halves as well as in the pack, enhancing his utility value considerably. And, with Bradford not doing so well in 2021, it could be time for the Bradford-born man to move on.