People’s Awards: Cast your vote for who you think is rugby league’s best ‘Next Big Thing’
SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 1:51PM
SAM Burgess and Sonny Bill Williams might be headed for the exits but the NRL has a ready supply of young talent ready to take the step into superstardom.
There is an abundance of talent on display every week in the NRL with a select group of rising stars on the cusp of becoming the the game’s central figures.
Below is our list of the 10 Best ‘Next Big Things” in the game. Some are still teenagers while others are late bloomers but with every outing they are becoming increasingly dominant.
Remember to have your say on who you believe is most likely to become the game’s greatest player in seasons to come.
He was labelled ‘the next Andrew Johns’ after just one NRL appearance in 2013 but it’s been a bumpy start for the promising young half.
In a team where controversy has followed their entire season, the 19-year-old has continued to develop as the club’s chief playmaker.
Locked into a long-term deal with the club, Brooks is considered a future Origin star and with the right guidance will continue on that path.
The NRL rules prevented the Australian schoolboy from playing first grade until his 18th birthday but he made the most of his opportunity when his debut finally came.
The youngest of four brothers, the winger scored three tries in his first match for the Newcastle, taking his tally to seven tries for the season.
Dubbed a future captain of the Knights by Wayne Bennett, Mata’utia capped off a breakout 2014 by being named in the Holden Cup Team of the Year.
Not many 20-year-olds can say they have been fought over as much as Anthony Milford.
Leaving Canberra to link with Brisbane at the end of the year, the emerging Queensland talent is a rare find.
In just two short years, Milford has established himself as one of the hottest young prospects in the competition.
With the ability to steal the show at fullback, his transition into a playmaking five-eighth has showed promise in what has been a forgettable year for the Raiders.
Captain of the Holden Cup side last season, Mbye this year extended his deal with the Bulldogs until the end of 2016 before making his NRL debut in round eight.
While he is most comfortable at five-eighth, the Noosa junior is a genuine ‘Mr Fix it’ for the Bulldogs with the ability to play in the halves, hooker, centre and wing.
He is only 19 but already has a City Origin jersey and was on the verge of earning a sky blue in only his second season in the NRL.
It is little wonder Walker is tipped to don the sky blue next year.
A versatile outside back, Walker has the ability to play five-eighth, centre or wing.
An excitement machine, the Mascot junior has busted 47 more tackles than last season which makes us thinking — how many will he break next season?
We all know the 19-year-old has famous bloodlines.
The nephew of Balmain legend Ben Elias, Moses is a rugby league prodigy.
Having made his debut this season alongside Luke Brooks in what is expected to be the club’s long term halves partnership, the young gun spent the majority of his time in the NRL playing fullback.
Signed until the end of 2017, Moses proved he possesses a strong running game thanks to his speed and footwork, giving fans a small taste of the future.
At his third club in three years, following a string of contractual breaches, the 21-year-old speedster is on his last legs.
Thrown a lifeline by the Titans, the winger has rewarded their good faith with some impressive form.
A versatile back, Roberts scored five tries in his 11 appearances this season in what was a disappointing side.
Since returning from a torn pectoral in the pre-season, the 22-year-old playmaker has continued to show just why Michael Maguire was willing to shift John Sutton from the halves and into the backrow.
In only his second year of NRL, Keary is caught in the middle of a bitter Origin tug-of-war between New South Wales and Queensland. Despite his lean 84kg frame, Keary is tough.
He never shies away from his defensive work while his attack betters each game, earning praise from the likes of Matt Johns.
Since bursting onto the scene in 2013, the 23-year-old wasted little time earning a reputation as a genuine match winner and comparisons with Darren Lockyer.
His golden boot has kicked three field goals this year, proving he is a cool customer under pressure.
The livewire fullback just inked a rich new deal tying him to the foot of the mountain until the end of 2017.
He also made his representative debut for City Origin this year and is a handy goal kicker.
The towering Klemmer had his breakthrough year in the NRL having missed the back half of 2013 with a serious knee injury.
His size and strength will see him form the cornerstone of the Bulldogs pack for years to come and representative honours are almost a certainty if he continues his rate of progress.
Follow the link below to cast your vote