With so many outstanding talents in the NRL, it becomes easy to overlook those who are on the climb in terms of skills and form. Knowing who to watch can help with a little more confidence in your bets because a singular talent can undoubtedly influence the game.
During this piece, we’ll look at some of our top picks for NRL players to keep a close eye on during 2022. Whether they’ve made the list for their outstanding form, their incredible status as a newbie, or even because of excellent overages over seasons, we believe they all belong on this list.
Without further ado, here are our picks for top NRL players to watch during 2022, in no specific order.
Still young at the age of 25, Nicho starts his 2022 career with a new team. The signing of this talent for the Cronulla Sharks is no surprise to many, given his exceptional play with Melbourne Storm.
Despite not having played a single minute in the NRL Preliminary Final, we still think he’s worth keeping an eye on, given his record of accomplishment. With more than 160 points from 36 games played during his time at his previous club, we don’t believe we’ve seen him peak just yet, and are eager to see what he does with the Sharks.
His year will undoubtedly be an exciting one as we believe he is determined to help his team step up their game.
Coming in at only 20 years old, Fanitesi Niu – or Tesi Niu – has undoubtedly made a name for himself since his debut for the Brisbane Broncos in June of 2020. While the Broncos saw a record 59-0 at-home defeat to the Sydney Roosters during the match, he certainly didn’t seem to lose hope for an excellent career going forward.
With some flexibility in positioning, Niu has shown some thrilling skill, especially in ball carrying capability. Being so young, his skills certainly have massive room for improvement over the next few years, and we’re incredibly excited for the day he hits his peak.
After a successful career with reigning champions Penrith, scoring the opening try in the NRL Grand Final of 2021, Matt Burton goes into his 2022 career as part of the Canterbury Bulldogs. He filled the role of Centre at Penrith, he will finally step into the halves to claim his preferred position on the field.
It’s always exciting when a player gets to join a new team in his preferred position because it can do wonders for their career. Given that Matt is only 21, he might very well have his best years in front of him.
The name Charlie Staines rang on many lips after his massively successful last season, scoring 14 tries in only 21 appearances.
At the age of 21, he has helped his team secure ample victories and will likely continue to do so throughout 2022. While the Panthers have lost some players, Charlie Staines is not one of them, and we look forward to seeing his exceptional play for the club going forward.
Born in Penrith, the ‘teen prodigy’ has settled comfortably with the Sydney Roosters, making his debut in round one of the 2021 NSW Cup season. While his history is bright with awards such as the Harold Matthews Cup Player of the Year, his future will likely be brighter.
He was the first player since 2010 to make their debut before their 18th birthday, and with good reason. His skills as a centre, wing, and full-back have had many talking and will likely start to flourish tremendously as he settles into the big leagues.
While Valentine might not have been a name everyone expected to see on the list, we think he deserves a spot based on his performance last season.
While the North Queensland Cowboys certainly did not have their best season, Valentine made their games that much more exciting with intense and dynamic play from the full-back position. Signed with the Cowboys until 2025, we hope he continues the powerhouse performance of last season through to the end.
Standing tall, Xavier is always a joy to watch on the field. His performances with the Broncos have been stellar, and he will most likely stay on form this year when he steps onto the field with the Melbourne Storm.
Having scored 17 tries during his time with the Broncos, we’re convinced this powerhouse 20-year-old still has ample fuel in the tank. We predict his career will likely see intense growth and accomplishment alongside veteran captain Jesse Bromwich.
Wrap it Up
That concludes our list of players to watch during the 2022 season. What do you think about our picks? Are there some you would add or some you would remove? Whatever your personal choices, one thing is clear:
2022 is going to be a tremendous year for the NRL.