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Wigan Warriors signing a shock inclusion on list including Kylian Mbappe and gold medallist Olympians

Wigan Warriors signing Sam Walters was someone that many were surprised Leeds Rhinos let go of, the young forward seen as an exciting prospect within Super League and he’s now been named on a list of ’10 To Watch This Year’ across all sport.

Rugby League often struggles to break into the mainstream media which is what makes Walters inclusion on this list even more surprising, with the bold prediction coming from The Daily Mirror.

The Mirror dedicated a page to the sport that fans can look forward to in 2024 with a calendar detailing each major sporting fixture and event, ranging from snooker to golf, to tennis, cycling, football, the Olympics and rugby league, among others.

Of course with 2024 being an Olympic year and also a European Championship year in football, we can expect to see plenty of team GB stars as well as Gareth Southgate’s players getting lots of attention.

One man who wasn’t expected to be getting worldwide sporting recognition was Sam Walters. Whilst those in rugby league circles are well aware of the talent that the ex-Rhino has, it’s a welcome surprise to see him touted as ‘one to watch’ f0r 2024.

Aside the sporting calendar was the ’10 To Watch This Year’ list with Walters sitting firmly sandwiched between world champion 100 and 200 metre sprinter Noah Lyles, and rising tennis star Jannick Sinner.

The write-up for Walters states: “The 6ft 6ins Walters was one of the more dependable figures in another testing rugby league season for Leeds Rhinos, so it came as a great surprise that he was allowed to join rivals and reigning Super League champions Wigan. Walters’ speed and power can only make the champions stronger.”

It’s brilliant to see the sport and Walters specifically, who as yet is uncapped by England, earn such huge recognition that he’s listed alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham.

Other names to feature on the list include snooker world champion Luca Brecel, England cricket star Nat Sciver-Brunt, team GB Olympians and medallists Sky Brown and Keeley Hodgkinson as well as the most decorated American gymnast in history Simone Biles.

Whilst Walters won’t be vying for Olympic gold or a European Championship title like Mbappe or Bellingham, he’ll be focused on helping new club Wigan defend their Super League crown.

Before that though Wigan are set to host Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge in February. The club have already confirmed an incredible 17,000 tickets have been sold for the clash at the DW Stadium.

If Walters lifts both the World Club Challenge and the Super League crown in his debut season then he could very well have the best 2024 out of those listed on the Mirror’s shortlist.

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