Every season we see teenagers from every club come out of nowhere and take the league by the scruff of the neck.
Last year in particular was an impressive year for young talent with the likes of Will Pryce and Morgan Gannon grabbing headlines.
But which teenagers are set to be the breakout stars of Super League in 2022?
Castleford: Cain Robb
Last season we saw a few glimpses of Cain Robb with an impressive performance against Huddersfield seeing him included in the official Super League team of the week that round. In 2022, under Lee Radford, Robb could cement himself as the natural successor to Paul McShane especially now that Adam Milner is now seen as a trusted forward. With all the attributes a modern nine needs these days, Robb could be trusted to play more games to give McShane a rest at times during the season.
Catalans: Cesar Rouge
Last year, at the age of just 18, Cesar Rouge was trusted as able cover for James Maloney even starting the game away at Champions St Helens. Now 19, Rouge is another year older and has another top-notch halfback to learn from in the shape of Mitchell Pearce. Should injury mean Pearce or Josh Drinkwater are unavailable, Rouge will likely be trusted and with energy and skill he could cause sides problems as he grows into an exciting halfback.
Huddersfield: George Roby
A former England academy international, the Giants drafted him in from Warrington in December 2020 and gave him valuable experience last year at North Wales Crusaders. Like Cain Robb, Roby – akin to a certain player who shares his last name – is an exciting hooker and now has Danny Levi to learn from. If he’s given an opportunity to impress, expect him to take it.
Hull FC: Marcus Walker
Awarded the number 26 shirt ahead of 2022, the versatile Marcus Walker could feature in a number of positions this year should the opportunity arise. Having trained with the first team squad since the start of 2021 and having debuted last season, Walker has all the development behind him to be trusted throughout the campaign.
Hull KR: Daniel Okoro
Despite being just 18, Dan Okoro is 6 foot 4 and weighs just shy on 100kg. A physical specimen, the youngster could very well be used as an impact forward should injuries arise in the Robins pack as they inevitably do at every club especially in the middle of the field.
Leeds: Jack Sinfield
Leeds’ golden generation came on the back of homegrown talent and the Rhinos seem to be aiming to do so again. A number of young players had breakout seasons last year including Jack Broadbent and Morgan Gannon who even started this season in Leeds’ strongest side. But who’ll be next? It could very well be Jack Sinfield. Son of Leeds legend Kevin, he shone in pre-season with a peach of an assist in the win at Bradford and a number of classy touches in his other appearances. He also proved more than capable of kicking goals.
Salford: Jack Stevens
Salford didn’t include any teenagers in their initial Super League squad, but plenty shone in pre-season especially in Lee Mossop’s testimonial at Warrington. Jack Stevens was a particular stand out that night even being described as “phenomenal” by Alex Davidson after the game. On the back of that, Stevens could be trusted in the Red Devils’ first team throughout the season.
St Helens: Jon Bennison
St Helens have always excelled at bringing through youngsters, just look at Lewis Dodd and Jack Welsby. However, speaking of that dynamic duo, if there’s one area for concern for the Saints its cover for the spine but perhaps the presence of young fullback Jon Bennison ameliorates that worry somewhat. He made his first team debut last season with an eye-catching performance in the final round of the season against Salford. Given the number 27 shirt this year, he could play a key role in covering for Welsby at one.
Toulouse: Yanis Belmaaziz
The 19-year-old won’t be known to most in Super League and hasn’t been awarded a squad number ahead of 2022. However, the loose-forward has impressed routinely in the Elite One Championship for Toulouse’s second team. Despite his young age, he was trusted to feature in a number of games last year despite only just turning 18. In 2022, the French side could very well turn to the young man if they need an extra forward much like how Maxime Stefani was called up recently.
Wakefield: Isaac Shaw
Wakefield’s number 29 this year was included in the 17 who pushed Catalans all the way in Round Two. A former England academy international, he signed his inaugural first team contract ahead of this season showing the high hopes for Shaw at Wakefield.
Warrington: Ellis Longstaff
Last season Ellis Longstaff caught the eye towards the end of the campaign for his tenacity and skill. The backrower has all the attributes to shine in 2022 and although it’ll be tough for him to get into their first 17 with Oliver Holmes, Ben Currie and Jack Hughes ahead of him, it’s very possible that we could see Longstaff force his way into the side on a more permanent basis as the season develops.
Wigan: Brad O’Neill
Like Longstaff, we saw Brad O’Neill a touch last season but as the young hooker continues to develop he could seriously push Sam Powell for the number nine shirt in 2022 and beyond. So good the Warriors let go of fellow youngster Amir Bourouh, he has all the makings of a superb dummyhalf.