Super League is blessed with some real talent at the moment. Some of Australia’s greatest ever players ply their trade on these shores whilst England has its very own rich crop of players filling the competition.
Today, we’re continuing our countdown of the 50 best players in Super League starting with number 40.
40 Gareth Widdop
If I’d have made this list a year ago, the English international would’ve been much higher. But last season, the half left much to be desired. He clearly didn’t take to Super League very well and tried to force a move back to Australia, but to no avail. There’s no doubt that Widdop is a quality half, but his form has deserted him. Wire fans will be hoping it returns this season or else they might struggle and need to find a new number 7.
39 Krisnan Inu
Last season, much was made of Inu’s future. Fortunately for Super League and Salford, the winger elected to remain at the AJ Bell Stadium. The brute of a winger was outstanding in the last campaign as Salford backed up their Grand Final appearance with a trip to Wembley. He also forced his way into the Super League Dream Team and, as a former New Zealand international, has definite quality.
38 Blake Austin
After the heights of his 2019 campaign when he was at times the league’s best player, Austin has struggled. Injury curtailed his inaugural Super League season and in 2020 he failed to find his form like fellow halfback Gareth Widdop. His signature step and powerful running, which made him such a threat, appeared to leave him and Warrington’s hopes in 2021 hinge on his and Widdop’s form.
37 Liam Watts
Watts has been, without a doubt, one of the best props in Super League over recent years. He was part of a brilliant Hull FC pack as they became a real force in the league before continuing that form at Castleford. The big fella arguably should’ve been given more opportunities at international level and with the World Cup on the horizon I expect another stellar campaign as he looks to force his way into the squad.
36 Mahe Fonua
Like Watts, Fonua featured in the Hull side that brought home the Challenge Cup a few years ago. He then headed back to the NRL before returning to the KCOM Stadium last year. Despite a drop-off in quality from his first stint at Hull, he remains one of the competition’s most devastating backs and could be a key feature if Hull are to achieve success in 2021.
35 Zane Tetevano
As a New Zealand international, it is clear that Tetevano has quality. He featured in both the 2019 and 2020 NRL Grand Finals so wherever he goes success follows and the Rhinos will be hoping that he brings the same success to Headingley in 2021. Few tackle as hard as the prop at international level and he can be trusted to smash into defences with powerful runs in attack.
34 Joel Thompson
Like Tetevano, Thompson is another major recruit from Australia going into 2021. The big second-rower has been given the number 11 jersey at St Helens and will feature in a dynamic back-row certain to obtain those metres whilst also having enough quality to score tries of their own. With a few notable departures who have made up St Helens’ back-row in recent years, he’s a vital acquisition.
33 Mike Cooper
The 2020 Super League Dream Team prop well and truly overshadowed Warrington skipper Chris Hill last season. He brings size and strength to the Wolves’ front row as well as a touch of class that makes him the perfect modern prop. He’s surely in the running for Shaun Wane’s World Cup squad.
32 Morgan Knowles
Just as Cooper is the perfect modern prop, Knowles is the perfect modern loose-forward. He has the size of a prop/second-row but pairs that with a touch of class and an ability to break tackles and link-up in attack. At 24, he’s just about to hit his prime and, if his formative years are anything to go by, he’s going to be a hell of a player for St Helens in the years to come.
31 Matt Prior
Another outstanding loose-forward, the Rhinos’ pedigree signing’s impact was somewhat overlooked in 2020 as few forwards get through as much work as he did. He makes metres aplenty, often after the collision, and tackles like a demon. He was a focal point in the Rhinos’ Challenge Cup success, taking two charging runs forward to set up the winning drop goal. On top of all that, he has a world class offload in him, setting up spectacular tries for Tom Briscoe and Jack Walker last season.