We select one Rookie from each of the 12 Super League teams as players to watch for the up coming 2017 season.
Greg Minikin – Center
Minikin exploded onto the Super League scence, taking his full opportunity, after club captain Michael Shenton injured his knee in the Tigers’ opening Super League game last season and required surgery, ruling him out for the entire season.
The 21-year-old scored 9 tries in his debut season for Castleford and made 17 appearances for the club. Minikin went onto win the Tigers ‘Young Player of the Year Award for 2016.
Minikin may find it tough to find a spot in Daryl Powell’s top 17 this season, with the return of Shenton and Jake Webster holding down the Centre positions. The inclusion of 2015 Man of Steel Zak Hardaker and Greg Eden joining the club from his stint in the NRL creates fierce competition for spots in the backline.
Minikin will only be an injury away from adding to his 17 game Super League career and is a kid of the future.
Alrix Da Costa – Hooker
Da Costa came through the junior ranks at Catalans and managed to make 7 Super League appearances in 2016, also making his France debut in October during the England Test match.
Da Costa is expected to play as a relief option for veteran hooker Paul Aiton. The 19-year old is seen as the future hooker for the Dragons, a geat leader, hard working player who has attitude and motivation coach Laurent Frayssinous is looking for going forward.
Ollie Roberts – Second-row
Roberts, 21, joined the Giants on a 2-year deal following the Bulls’ relegation from Super League in 2014, but was unable to make an appearance in his first year at the Giants.
Roberts finally got his chance in 2016, when he made his debut in round 1. He went on to make 30 appearances for Huddersfield and impressed the club enough to extend his contract until the end of the 2019.
Expect Roberts to only get better with the 2016 season under his belt.
Jack Downs – Second Row
Downs, 21, will find it tough to break in the Hull FC side filled with so much talent and coming off their Challenge Cup win in 2016.
Downs just made the 2 appearances in 2016 for the Black and Whites and will be hoping he can increase his first grade appearances.
Continued to impress as the captain of the Hull’s FC reserves side and should get more opportunities in 2017 as Lee Radford will look to manage his players at the business end of the season.