There have been a host of Super League stars that have gone on to have good careers in the NRL. The likes of James Graham, Josh Hodgson, Adrian Morley and Gareth Ellis have all proved that there is talent in Super League that can have a positive impact on the game down under.
With that in mind, I have comprised a list of current Super League talent that I believe may be able to have a good impact on the NRL. Please note that this list does not include anyone who has already played in the NRL.
Here are the choices…
There are a number of top-class wingers currently playing in the NRL and Tommy Makinson would be another should he ever decide to play in Australia. The 28-year-old was able to showcase his ability against many NRL stars when England played four tests against New Zealand in 2018, with his performances earning him the 2018 Golden Boot award. Makinson has proved himself in Super League, scoring 133 tries in 235 appearances for St Helens, becoming renowned for his devastating speed, strength and acrobatic finishes, all attributes that wouldn’t look out of place in the NRL.
Since bursting onto the scene for Castleford, the 2014 Man of Steel winner has cemented his place as one of Super League’s best hookers. The 27-year-old often causes havoc from dummy-half and would fit in well with the fast-paced style of play in the NRL. Clark has been unlucky not to receive more international appearances, especially when you consider his form for Warrington in recent times, which included a Lance Todd Trophy-winning performance at Wembley last season.
There have been a few cases of star backs in Super League struggling to make a difference in the NRL, but Hull centre Jake Connor could be a player to break that trend. Connor is one of Super League’s best talents and despite a recent dip in form, should the 25-year-old find his feet and get back to playing his best, there are few better in Super League. If George Williams is a success at the Canberra Raiders in 2020, more NRL teams may come looking to Super League and Connor would certainly be one of those attracting interest.
Alex Walmsley has signed a long-term contract with St Helens but should he ever move to Australia, he definitely has the talent. The 30-year-old has proved himself to be one of Super League’s best prop-forwards, with his huge frame and destructive style made for the NRL. Walmsley was one of the redeeming factors on the 2019 Great Britain tour and again proved himself against the best NRL talent in February, putting in an excellent performance against Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge.
Liam Watts has been exceptional since joining Castleford and was unlucky not to earn a spot on the Great Britain tour last year. The 29-year-old’s aggressive style of play would fit in well Down Under and he has already proved he can produce his best in the big games, helping old club Hull FC win back-to-back Challenge Cups in 2016 and 2017. NRL sides love a British enforcer in the pack and Watts could start attracting interest if he maintains his fine form when the season resumes.
Last season’s Harry Sunderland winner Luke Thompson has already signed a contract with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for 2021 and beyond, but he is still viable for this list since he has yet to play in the NRL. The 24-year-old has been a powerhouse in Super League since he made his debut in 2013, but it was under Justin Holbrook’s reign at St Helens where he really came to the forefront as the league’s best front-rower. Thompson has all the attributes to be successful in the NRL and will quickly become one of the Bulldogs most consistent and reliable performers.