Following yesterday’s countdown from 50-41, we’re into the thirties today as we continue the mammoth task of the naming the 50 best players currently playing in Super League.
40. Morgan Knowles (St Helens)
Morgan Knowles has been a consistent and impressive performer for St Helens and has become their regular loose forward. His improvement since 2017 has been exceptional, proving himself to be a durable, strong and aggressive defender, while consistently making strong carries in attack. He also possesses explosive power and pace and has a good passing skillset, making him a great all-rounder. Knowles tremendous endurance, stamina and mentality allows him to get through a high workload and often get the better of some of the best forwards in the competition.
39. Danny Richardson (Castleford Tigers)
Danny Richardson made an eye-catching start to life at the Jungle after falling out of favour at previous club St Helens. During Castleford’s first few games of the season, Richardson was taking the ball right to the line in attack, before delivering the correct pass and exploiting some of Super League’s best defensive structures. The former Dream Team member has also vastly improved his kicking game in a Tigers shirt, often turning teams around with the boot and finding supporting runners with close-range kicks. Daryl Powell will undoubtedly be working closely with Richardson again when the season resumes, trying to improve his defence and ensure the promising half-back partnership with Jake Trueman lives up to the hype.
38. Ricky Leutele (Toronto Wolfpack)
Former NRL Grand Final-winning centre Ricky Leutele has been an absolute standout for Toronto during their difficult start to the season. It comes as little surprise that he has been the Wolfpack’s best player given his terrific physical attributes and past success with Cronulla. The powerful and pacey Australian is a game-changer and is capable of releasing sublime offloads, while also providing priceless yardage during exit sets. Leutele is very difficult to stop near the line, being able to score under immense pressure, and is one of Toronto’s best attacking weapons and a player they will be desperate to keep fit.
37. Theo Fages (St Helens)
The man who ousted the aforementioned Richardson in the St Helens halves is French international Theo Fages. The plucky playmaker isn’t the go-to superstar in the Saints team, but he is a very dependable and accurate distributor of the ball. Fages is also a reliable defender and has improved that side of his game no-end, with opposition teams often targeting the Frenchman due to his small stature. The tough-tackling half-back rarely lets anyone down and is one of the unsung heroes in a star-studded team. He fits seamlessly into the Saints fearsome attacking system and is one of the best support players in the competition. Fages has matured his game somewhat since leaving Salford and is probably the most recognisable French rugby league player outside of Catalans.
36. Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers)
Jake Trueman is developing into a very effective stand-off and despite only being 21, he has already played 62 Super League games for Castleford. The former Young Player of the Year makes a lot of line breaks due to his deceptive strength and has an uncanny natural ability to evade defenders. He is an old head on young shoulder and his long-range kicking game is, while still a work-in progress, fairly impressive. Trueman also possesses a good level of communication and tactical awareness, while his defence and pass selection have improved of late. Should he continue to make progress in all areas of his game, Trueman definitely has the attitude and talent to become a regular for England at international level.
35. Bill Tupou (Wakefield Trinity)
Bill Tupou is a robust and powerful centre who made a real name for himself during the 2018 season. The former Canberra star finished fifth on the Man of Steel leaderboard that year, however an injury-hit 2019 campaign halted his progress and he will be hoping to make up for lost time this year. The big, athletic Kiwi is fearless, possesses explosive power, a good offloading game and can break the line out of almost nothing. Tupou’s big yardage and ability to produce game-changing moments makes him one of Wakefield’s most important players and he is among the best three-quarters in Super League.
34. Tony Gigot (Toronto Wolfpack)
On individual ability and skill alone, Tony Gigot should arguably be in a better position on this list, but his well-known application issues often hold him back. The French full-back is a frustrating player, mainly because he is on the cusp of being world class at times, but when he puts a consistent run of games together and reaches near the peak of his game, he is almost unplayable. Gigot was a joy to watch during his Lance Todd Trophy performance at Wembley in 2018, showing all the guile, vision and silky footwork that makes him so good. Toronto will hope he can rediscover that form because when at his off-the-cuff best, Gigot makes the game of rugby league look effortless.
33. Robert Lui (Leeds Rhinos)
Robert Lui is a crafty and unpredictable half-back that possesses deceptive ball skills and plenty of guile. He is another maverick-type player that has the ability to create breaks and unlock tight defences. The former Salford man has a good understanding of the game and can link up well, as proven with Luke Gale this season, despite being quite an individualistic playmaker. He has a cracking dummy and a very useful combination of footwork and strength, and is a threat on his day to any team in Super League. Having cemented himself in the Leeds team, Lui will hope to continue his fine form later in the year as the Rhinos look to rediscover their former glories.
32. Josh Griffin (Hull FC)
Josh Griffin is developing into a devastating centre and will be knocking on the door for a spot in the England starting line-up sooner rather than later. His speed and strength are a lethal combination and his awareness of the game, both in attack and defence, allows him to prevent, create and score tries. Griffin’s technically ability makes him a wingers dream, while his concentration, stamina and decision-making are further strengths of his ever-improving game. A confident, athletic and aggressive player that certainly fits the international mould, while his style of play is well-suited to that of a Shaun Wane-coached team.
31. Josh Jones (Hull FC)
Having recently forced his way into international reckoning, Josh Jones is now renowned as one of the competition’s most destructive forwards. The former Saints man likes to receive the ball early so he can cut back on the inside and is an absolute nightmare to bring down and stop in the tackle. Further to this, he has a good bump-off technique, a strong fend and a huge frame, playing a big part in Salford’s run to the Grand Final last year. Strong and awkward in contact situations, virtually guaranteeing his side big yards and a quick play-the-ball, Jones’ all-round game is good too with his ability to produce numerous effective carries and tackles throughout a game priceless to his team. Jones has become one of Super League’s best back-rowers since he returned from rugby union and will look to continue his excellent progress for Hull FC over the next few years.
Tomorrow: Players 30-21