‘He’s almost hit the tee and missed the ball!’
If you needed a reason to check out this year’s Four Nations, it’s to see some of these guys in action.
Most of the guys I’ve identified on this list are fairly young, and for good reason should be looking to make it in the NRL soon, if they haven’t already.
Shannon Boyd – Australia
The hulking Canberra Raiders front rower had a breakout year in 2016, helping the Green Machine to the preliminary finals.
One of the absolute monsters of the competition, Boyd stands at 194cm and weighs 122kg, towering over some of his fellow front rowers.
His ability to not only play as a workhorse but also bend the line and put on big hits makes him a valuable asset for the Aussies, and he showed what he’s capable of in the trans-Tasman Test just last week.
George Williams – England
The next big thing coming from the Old Dart comes in the form of Wigan five-eighth George Williams.
Blessed with size, pace and evasiveness, Williams reminds me a lot of a young Brad Fittler. He has all the great attributes to become a great player and was a standout in Wigan’s run to claim their 21st Super League title.
Look out for his elusive running game to flourish behind a big English forward pack.
Dan Sarginson – England
Titans bound Dan Sarginson is another Pommy to check out this tournament. With the ability to play anywhere in the backline, his utility will be on show for England, considering their numerous injuries in the backs.
The centre-cum-fullback helped Wigan this year in the Super League with the injury to Sam Tomkins, and added a new dimension to his game with the extra responsibility, providing some great ball-playing and kicking to his repertoire.
With a lack of depth in the outside backs, look for England to test out Sarginson’s utility throughout the tournament.
Lewis Tierney – Scotland
The third and final Wigan Warrior is youngster Lewis Tierney. While Tierney didn’t light the world on fire this year, he did show the Super League his ability and potential.
With the injury crisis Wigan sustained during this season, Tierney was thrown into the deep end and as the season went on, his game developed more and more, culminating in a try in their grand final win over Warrington. His speed, determination and safety under the ball all became more evident with each game he played.
With Scotland’s solid backline consisting of Lachlan Coote, Euan Aitken and Kane Linnett, look for Tierney to grow throughout the Four Nations tournament as the weeks go on.
Solomone Kata – New Zealand
Another player who has grown throughout the season is Warriors centre Kata.
One of the most improved players in the NRL, Kata terrorised opposition defences with his hard running style, coupled with his dummy and soft hands.
The thing that Kata has fixed since his NRL debut last year is his defence, and decision making without the ball, which was evident last weekend against the Kangaroos when he shut down multiple tries. Look for the young Kiwi to cement a spot in the New Zealand backline for years to come.
Do you agree with my list? Are there other guys to look out for? Let me know what you think in the comments below.