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Three biggest surprise package players in Super League so far

Super League Umyla Hanley

Prior to the Super League season, there were a number of very obvious candidates for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award with current holder Bevan French and former winner Brodie Croft strong fancies, but as always players come out of nowhere and impress.

Whilst some of the listed players below might not be making enough waves to be in the Man of Steel conversation, they’re certainly three men who have taken a step up in their game and could be dubbed as ‘surprise packages’ so far.

Incredibly as well, in spite of their poor season so far with just one win in Super League, Leigh Leopards boast two names on the list that we’ve picked out. Here are Serious About Rugby League’s three surprise package players so far in 2024.

 Who have been the most unexpected stars in Super League so far?

Umyla Hanley – Leigh Leopards

Super League Umyla Hanley

Credit: Imago Images

Hanley’s journey to success was not an easy one. He had to wait on the sidelines for his chance at Leigh but when he was finally given the opportunity to start for the Leopards, the youngster seized it with both hands, showing the true spirit of perseverance.

Umyla Hanley, a name that has unexpectedly lit up the Super League, has scored an impressive nine tries in just five games. His standout performances include two hat-trick tries against Salford Red Devils and Featherstone Rovers, leaving fans in awe of his talent.

His most recent exploits saw him score in the Challenge Cup loss to Hull KR and what sets the winger apart, clinical finishing aside, is his ability to manage more than 18 carries per game, a feat that makes him a true surprise package in the Super League.

Despite his young age of 22, Hanley has already shown the potential to be one of the best players in the Super League. This promise of a bright future is something that should excite and inspire fans.

 Marc Sneyd – Salford Red Devils

Marc Sneyd Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Okay, so Marc Sneyd is a well-established Super League star but did anyone really think that he could perform at the level he is right now? With Salford losing Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers in the off-season, there were serious concerns but Sneyd has taken his game to another level.

There is no doubt that Sneyd is one of the best kickers in the Super League right moment, but this season, he has taken the league by storm.

Sneyd picked up three Man of the Match awards in a row, the first game in a win against St Helens, where his conversion was the difference in their historic win.

Despite losing to Wigan at home late on in the game, Sneyd managed to pick up the Man of the Match award whilst their next Super League game, they beat Leigh Leopard at home saw him earn yet another medal.

Marc Sneyd, with his exceptional performances, has not only caught the attention of fans but also sparked discussions about his potential nomination for the Man of Steel at the end of the season. If he continues this impressive run, he is sure to be a strong contender for the prestigious award.

 Brad Dwyer – Leigh Leopards

Brad Dywer Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Dwyer has been another surprise package for the Leopards so far this season. After leaving Leeds, Dwyer struggled to cement himself at a club and finally found the right club to show the Leigh fans what he was capable of.

Leigh originally signed Dwyer on loan from Warrington Wolves in replacement for the injured Edwin Ipape and has come in and gone above and beyond for the Leopards, so much so that the Leopards have now signed him permanently.

Dwyer will hope to maintain this decent run of form in the future and keep Ipape out of the Leigh squad for as long as possible. 

They play Warrington next weekend in a must-win game, hoping to keep their play-off places alive.

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