Six NRL ‘young guns’ to look out for in 2021

It seems as though every year in the NRL, a handful of youngsters burst onto the scene with a scintillating rookie season. This was the case for last year’s Dally M Rookie of the Year Harry Grant, who, in his first season, was able to get a call up to the Queensland Origin side and make an appearance in their triumphant 2020 series. 

Another of last year’s rookies that took the game by storm was Penrith’s star centre Stephen Crichton who notched up 17 tries in the Panthers Minor Premiership winning campaign. 

So now we will try to predict which talented youngsters will make a name for themselves in 2021. Here are six that we will be keeping a close eye on in the upcoming campaign. 

Charlie Staines

Penrith winger Charlie Staines is definitely one to keep an eye on in 2021. In just two games last year, the 20-year-old was able to score six tries, scoring four on his debut against the Cronulla Sharks. After penning a three-year contract extension at the end of 2020, Staines is now expected to become a regular starter in the Panthers outfit and will be looking to benefit on Penrith’s free-flowing style of rugby. 

Josh Schuster

After making just one appearance last season, Manly youngster Josh Schuster still managed to prove himself as one of the game’s most promising young prospects. Despite playing just 64 minutes last season, Benji Marshall told Fox League that he believes that his debut was the best he had ever seen – high praise coming from a player of his calibre. 19-year-old Schuster will be competing against veteran stand-off’s Keiran Foran and Dylan Walker for the starting role, but we may see him feature elsewhere in the starting 13 as the season progresses. 

Cody Ramsey

Another that we should keep a look out for in 2021 is St George Illawarra Dragons’ Cody Ramsey. Ramsey made three appearances in 2020 and scored two tries on debut. He also showcased his talents in last February’s NRL Nines competition and will look to become a regular starter in the upcoming season.

Sam Walker

Another talented teenager that looks set to debut in 2021 is Sydney Roosters halfback Sam Walker. After Kyle Flanagan’s exit from the club, Walker will look to force his way into the starting line-up. Though not likely to start the season in first grade, it will only be a matter of time before the 18-year-old makes his way into the first team. 

Luke Metcalf

Metcalf was one of a handful of young guns to set the NRL Nines tournament alight at the start of 2020. Since then, he has made the move from Manly to the Cronulla Sharks and will be hoping to compete with Will Kennedy for the fullback role. Metcalf provided a very solid showing in the Sharks trial game against the Dragons last weekend, and the 21-year-old, who can also play in the halves, is likely to see game time at some point in the upcoming season.

Joseph Suaalli

Joseph Suaalli is one of the most talked about NRL prospects in recent years. Despite only recently turning 17 years of age, Suaalii was heavily sought-after by clubs in both league and union. After looking set to sign a deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he decided to take up a contract with the Sydney Roosters. 2021 could possibly be a year too early for the youngster, but it is possible he makes highly anticipated NRL debut in the coming season. Suallii is definitely one to keep an eye out for in 2021 and beyond. 

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