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The best Super League player for each squad number (1-31)

Super League squads have superb depth to them these days. Quality runs through them all the way to the big numbers like 30 or even higher. So, with that in mind, here’s the best player for every squad number from 1-31.

1. Lachlan Coote

There’s plenty of brilliant fullbacks in Super League these days the vast majority of which wear number one which made this pick extremely hard. However, two-time Grand Final winner Lachlan Coote takes the cake for me with his exquisite blend of organisation and creativity which often gives the Champions an extra dimension.

2. Tommy Makinson

Another Saints star who was hard to look passed, Tommy Makinson has at times been the world’s best winger and has turned scoring impossible tries into an artform. The 2018 golden boot winner is also a workaholic making metres for fun in tough spots.

3. Zak Hardaker

At the start of the season, Zak Hardaker was battling with the likes of Sam Tomkins for the England number one jersey. That said, he’s been wearing number three all season and has shown his class playing both centre and fullback. A three-time Super League Champion, he’s one of Wigan’s best players.

4. Toby King

The Warrington number four has been Super League’s best centre over the last two seasons. He scores and creates tries masterfully but is also trustworthy in defence. With a big career ahead of him, King is only going to get better from here.

5. Ryan Hall

The former Leeds man became only the second player in Super League history to notch 200 tries in the competition earlier this season. Ryan Hall has picked up where he left off in Super League and has given Hull KR something extra this season. He’s again been right up there where the top try scorer award is concerned with 15 four-pointers to his name this season.

6. Jonny Lomax

The England stand-off has been at the heart of St Helens’ success in recent years. He’s the fulcrum around which St Helens turn as they pull teams apart. Lomax is key to their attack with a creative flair as well as superb organisation.

7. Josh Drinkwater

There’s plenty of top number sevens in the league at the moment, but Josh Drinkwater’s form in 2021 sees him take this spot. His boot has been devastating this season and has led to a number of tries this term. With 28 assists to his name, he sits top of the Super League rankings and has helped fire the Dragons to top spot this term.

8. Alex Walmsley

Since the retirement of Jamie Peacock, Alex Walmsley has been the best prop in the league. He’s formed the backbone of St Helens success in recent years thanks to his size and power but also his leadership.

9. Daryl Clark

Number nine is one of the strongest squad numbers in the league, however Daryl Clark just edges it for me. The perfect modern hooker with speed, strength but also smarts he can burst through defences with ease as well as creating scores for those around him.

10. Matt Prior

The Leeds skipper, alongside teammate Mikolaj Oledzki who was unlucky to miss out where the number eight was concerned, has helped form one of the best front rows in the league this season. He always runs his blood to water, makes brilliant post-contact metres, offers a classy offload but also has the pass of a stand-off.

11. Ben Currie

Few second-rowers pose as much of an attacking threat as the Warrington number 11. When he breaks through, it’s almost a guaranteed try. It’s that element of his game which sets him apart from the rest, however he also offers everything a top second-rower should and is brilliant in defence as well as where the hard yards are concerned.

12. Kane Linnett

Kane Linnett has played his part in forming a formidable left edge this season. He, Ryan Hall and Shaun Kenny-Dowll have devastated teams with their off-the-cuff attacking style and the composure their experience ensures. With 13 tries to his name this season, no forward has more in 2021.

13. Morgan Knowles

This season, Morgan Knowles has found another level entirely. He seems faster and stronger when he’s charging at opponents down the middle of the field but also offers an extra element with the ball in hand.

14. Brad Dwyer

The Rhinos’ hooker offers Leeds a little something extra when he comes off the bench. With speed and agility, he’s a defender’s worst nightmare off the back of a quick play-the-ball. However, he has other strong areas to his game such as poaching tries. He has 12 to his name in all competitions this season but also creates them for others. Moreover, he and Kruise Leeming dovetail brilliantly and have torn teams apart at times this year.

15. Joe Cator

Hull FC are blessed with brilliant forwards at the moment but one of my favourites is Joe Cator. He has a superb work-rate and a dominant tackle and is the ideal modern loose-forward. When he’s missing, Hull appear to lose something as seen by their recent struggles following his injury.

16. Richie Myler

Who could’ve guessed just how good Richie Myler would become as a fullback? With eight tries and 15 assists to his name in 2021, he has a whopping 23 try involvements to his name in just 18 appearances. The 2020 Lance Todd winner gives the Leeds attack something extra and earlier this season his absence certainly stifled the Rhinos.

17. Agnatius Paasi

There are very few forwards who can come on and change a game like Agnatius Paasi does for St Helens. The Challenge Cup Final is perhaps the best case study of his impact as he began to shift momentum in favour of the Saints. An explosive runner, he’s very hard to stop and always gets the Champions headed in the right direction.

18. Jack Welsby

Another Saint who came off the bench in the Challenge Cup Final and changed the game, Jack Welsby is magnificent wherever he plays. Destined to be a fullback, he’s scored tries for fun on the wing, has proven to be a complete centre and even done a job in the halves. He won last year’s Grand Final with a last minute try and could repeat those heroics in 2021.

19. Ben McNamara

Like Welsby, Ben McNamara is another superb youngster who can play a variety of positions. He has a brilliant creative flair and can open up defences with ease despite his young age. At times, he’s shown wisdom beyond his years leading his side around the field when the likes of Josh Reynolds and Marc Sneyd have been absent.

20. Harry Smith

Continuing the trend of youngsters, Harry Smith has a huge future ahead of him as well. Despite his young age, he’s arguably been Wigan’s best halfback this season offering a blend of game-management and an eagerness to attack with venom. He’s the future of the Warriors for sure.

21. Adam Swift

Now to someone a little more experienced, Adam Swift has been excellent on the left wing for Hull this season. With 13 tries to his name, he’s been one of the leading scorers all season. Swift by name and by nature, he’s also shown great strength and intelligence whilst plying his trade in Hull.

22. Jake Bibby

Another of Super League’s top scorers, Jake Bibby has poached 13 this season despite Wigan’s struggles in attack. Reliable on the flank, he can do a job at centre or on the wing for the Warriors. Capable of scoring almost any kind of try, he’ll likely inherit a first team number next year.

23. Oliver Russell

Despite the proven quality of Greg Eden and Dan Sarginson both of whom wear 23, Oliver Russell has really impressed me this season and takes this spot. With big shoes to fill in the absence of Aidan Sezer and Lee Gaskell, he has stepped up and has even been the experienced halfback alongside the emerging Will Pryce.

24. Jason Baitieri

The Catalans forward has been a pillar of Catalans’ rise to prominence in Super League. Another workaholic with great size behind him, the Dragons have missed his presence at times this year when he’s been injured.

25. Jordan Turner

What great business it was from the Tigers poaching the 2014 Grand Final winner. With superb versatility, he can solve problems all over the park but has played his best rugby out wide.

26. Will Maher

Not a player many people were expecting to impress in 2021, but Will Maher has been essential to Hull KR’s success this year. Willing to work whether he starts on the bench or is given the nod ahead of Korbin Sims and co, he’s provided Hull KR with a superb platform this season.

27. Jack Broadbent

He may have been hit by injury recently, but Jack Broadbent was superb at the start of this season filling in at centre, fullback and most notably on the wing and has again shone since his return at the Magic Weekend. He’s poached nine tries in just 13 appearances this season. With an eagerness to learn and raw ability, he’s going to be a superb back in the years to come.

28. Sam Kasiano

You can pretty much take what I said about Agnatius Paasi and apply it to Sam Kasiano. The Catalans prop causes havoc when he’s brought on against tired defences as he powers through tackles and produces superb offloads. If the Dragons make it to Old Trafford, he’ll be key.

29. Sam Tomkins

As will the other Sam at Catalans. The former Wigan man has been exceptional in 2021 showing others how to develop your game so that age never catches up to you. With 20 try assists and 10 tries, he’s been at the creative hub for the league leaders this season and could yet claim a second Man of Steel.

30. Umyla Hanley

It’s always tough to live up to the hype when your father is someone like Ellery Hanley, but Umyla has stepped up to the plate for Wigan and has done a sound job when they’ve struggled with injuries this term. He’s even poached a few tries scoring four in eight games.

31. Jackson Hastings

You might have thought 30 would be the natural stopping point for something like this and maybe so, but when you consider the quality at 31, I can’t not look at this squad number. Gareth O’Brien and George Williams were both vying for this spot in the list, but considering the quality of Jackson Hastings over the last few years, I couldn’t look passed him.

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