Super League’s under-21 team of the year

This year, more than most, has been adorned by the emergence of some outstanding youngsters all across the league in a variety of positions which can only be good news for Super League going forward and the international team. All of that of course made picking this team very difficult but I’ve given it a go anyway.

We’re strictly looking at players under-21 for the majority of the season, if they’ve turned 21 since the end of the season they can still be included.

Fullback: Will Pryce

With pace to burn and a superb skillset, Will Pryce has shone in a struggling Huddersfield side mostly in the halves. However, a fullback by trade, he’ll likely settle into the role in the years to come and the attacking prowess he’s shown this year will only make him all the more impressive in the role especially if his recent try against Leigh is anything to go by. With an eye for a try, the agility and speed to capitalise, and an old head on young shoulders he had to be in this side.

Wingers: Josh Thewlis and Jack Broadbent

Naturally, Thewlis is a fullback and could’ve taken the number one spot in this team. But for most of the season he’s starred on the wing keeping Tom Lineham and Josh Charnley out of the side for spells. Capable of sniffing out an attacking opportunity, he’s got a big future ahead of him. Meanwhile, Jack Broadbent is superbly versatile and has done a superb job all across the backline this term. His recent role in which he mixed fullback with stand-off has worked masterfully but he was also a try scoring machine on the wing scoring four in one game against Leigh.

Centres: Connor Wrench and Jack Welsby

When I watch Connor Wrench, it’s like watching an experienced centre. Capable of hitting a killer line, bouncing off tackles, jinking through defenders and tackling like a machine, in many ways he’s already the complete centre. Meanwhile, Jack Welsby, despite his young age, was named in this year’s Dream Team: an impressive feat for a young man as is the fact he single-handedly won the Grand Final last year. He came off the bench in this year’s Challenge Cup Final and made a seismic difference starring in the halves but that’s just one role in which he’s shone this term. His best rugby has arguably come out wide in the centres as he’s poached 13 tries. That record saw him named at centre in this year’s Dream Team.

Halfbacks: Lewis Dodd and Mikey Lewis

Could this be a future halfback partnership for England? Perhaps. Mikey Lewis has been exceptional this year. He started this season with raw talent and an attacking intent but lacked smarts so was moved out on loan. He sharpened up, returned and has been exhilarating in recent weeks scoring sublime tries like the one he poached against Warrington. The world is simply at his feet which is the same for Lewis Dodd. With a creative spark and an eye for an opportunity, he has all the makings of a top-class halfback and in many ways already is one.

Props: Tom Holroyd and Ethan Havard

Powerful and strong, Tom Holroyd has had a superb second half of the season since he’s gotten over his injury problems. Capable of scoring delightful tries with smart lines and even sharp sidesteps, he’s an attacking force as well as a brilliant metre maker capable of taking the pressure of the likes of Matt Prior and Mikolaj Oledzki. Meanwhile, Ethan Havard has had to be one of the standard bearers for the Warriors in the pack this term. Hard working and willing to start or come off the bench, he gives his all for his team every week.

Hooker: Brad O’Neill

Another Warrior, Brad O’Neill’s exciting future is the main reason Wigan are happy to let go of Amir Bourouh. He’s been trusted a number of times this year and has all the qualities of a fantastic modern number nine going forward.

Second-rowers: Morgan Gannon and Kai Pearce-Paul

Kai Pearce-Paul has been one of biggest finds this season. Little was said about the backrower before the start of the campaign, but thanks to his lanky figure and his physicality, he’s become a top second-rower for the Warriors. With 41 offloads to his name, he’s third in the regular season rankings. Meanwhile, Morgan Gannon is equally as impressive. He’s just 17 years old and capable of special physicality and work rate. He can do 80 minutes in the middle, burst tackles galore whilst producing bone-crunching tackles on opponents 10 years older than him.

Loose-Forward: Ellis Longstaff

Like Gannon, Ellis Longstaff is a tough youngster who battles hard in every aspect of the game. Physical in the tackle, willing to take tough carries and with a superb skillset for a backrower, he has a massive future ahead of him if this year is anything to go by.

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